Calendar of Events

Wine Flavor 101A: Reducing Flavor Negatives


Monday Dec 7th 2009


ARC Ballroom, UC Davis campus


December 7 & 8, 2009
Wine has always been characterized by its aroma and flavor nuances, but little has been clearly understood about the chemical nature of these attributes. Today, however, state-of-the-art instrumentation and methodologies have led to the identification of the principal flavor compounds in wine found. Interactions among compounds as influenced by the chemical matrix are also being delineated. This research will allow winemakers to both predict and influence the highly complex wine matrix and to attain specific flavor goals. A more acute understanding of this complexity will enable better production decisions with less intervention. At the same time, the completion of the sequence of the grape genome will enhance understanding of specific flavor pathways in the grape and improve our ability to manipulate flavors naturally in the vineyard. But which compounds or pathways should be targeted? Our GC-Olfactory research has shown that individuals have very different descriptors for the same compounds. Understanding ones own perception of specific components is important in determining their value to a particular style or region. These intense classes are designed to develop a more detailed appreciation of the impact of specific compounds and practices on wine aroma and flavor. The unique structure and organization of these classes will allow participants to attend in-depth lectures on the nature of the compounds in question, followed by sensory evaluation of commercial and spiked wines that reflect the character of that compound in wine. Participants will be able to reach their own conclusions about the desirability of targeting specific flavor components for enhancement. Instructional materials will include lecture notes and handouts, specially chosen commercial wines, treated wines, spiked wines and synthetic wines to illustrate the impact of each specific component.

In addition to understanding the beneficial effects of components and how they can best be manipulated, both in the field and in the cellar to achieve stylistic goals, participants will also learn to recognize wine taints and other indicators of impending flavor, and quality, deterioration. In the first year this series will focus on identification of wine components, both positive and negative. The flights will cover wine taints and faults from the subtle to the pronounced, again with repeated sensory examples to assure that each participant has a better understanding of the nature of the faults and how to recognize and mitigate each. In the future the Flavor 101 series of programs will focus on experimental wines made in the new departmental winery. This state-of-the art winery will be better equipped than most current commercial wineries for experimental wine production, and will evaluate new and promising technologies in wine production and grape growing. The winery will be used to make wines assessing a variety of production techniques, both in the vineyard and in the cellar. The Flavor 101 programs will allow winemakers to analyze the experimental wines themselves and to reach their own conclusions as to what emerging technologies will be a wise investment for their winery.
The session on Dec.7 will address green characters, sulfur taints, Brettanomyces taints and musty taints. There will be a lecture on each topic, followed by a tasting of wines spiked with the characters discussed. This will allow all attendees to have an in depth experience with these taints, which will aid them in recognizing and dealing with the characters.


Dept of Viticulture & Enology, UC Davis