The University has hosted a sector meeting on Enology within the frame of FENAVIN 2007
New technologies in the elaboration of wines, recuperation of varietals, the "cork taste", the type of yeasts or the importance of phenolic compounds in the quality of wine. The University of Castilla-La Mancha has been carrying out advanced investigations on all these matters, the same presented at FENAVIN 2007 during the sector meeting on Enology, which has been coordinated by Gerardo Marquet García, Director of the Investigation Results Transfer Bureau (OTRI) of the University of Castilla-La Mancha.
Marquet García has insisted on the importance of the sector companies' collaboration and participation in all investigation projects. "We must encourage the entrepreneurs and technicians so that they will implant these developments in their corporate strategy, given that they all represent improvements in the quality of wine, which is the objective we are all pursuing", he explained.
María Soledad Pérez Coello, Full Professor of the Analytical Chemistry and Food Technology Department of the Faculty of Chemical Sciences of Ciudad Real, has presented the paper 'Application of new technologies in the elaboration of wines'. This is a line of investigation that is in search of developing enological techniques to obtain increased quality and number of aroma compounds. Some of these procedures involve use of certain enzymes to extract the aromatic fraction, selection of the optimal harvesting moment and prefermentation maceration with skins. "The idea is to satisfy the consumers' demand for wines with an attractive color and with the greatest varietal aroma that is possible", Pérez Coello explained.
This team has also studied the result of fermentation or maceration with oak chips and the effect of hyper-oxygenation of musts in the quality of white wines, using Castilian-Manchego grape varieties. "On this occasion the objective has been to find diversity that will attract the consumer", explained the Professor of the Chemical Sciences Faculty in Ciudad Real.
Her colleague, Miguel Ángel González Viñas, likewise Full Professor of the Analytical Chemistry and Food Technology Department of the Faculty of Chemical Sciences in Ciudad Real, has presented 'Recuperation of minority varieties over the basis of their enological potential". A project in which the main objective is to recuperate Castilla-La Mancha varieties, evaluating their enological potential and the varietal characteristics of quality wines, the same through optimization of elaboration practices in an experimental winery. Some of the varieties that have been analyzed for this study correspond to red grapes, Moravia Dulce, Moravia Agria, Rojal and Tortosí, apart from white grapes in danger of extinction, using Airén and Cencibel varieties as the markers.
This study has evaluated the degree of grape maturity, contact with skins, treatment of musts and wines with commercial enzymes to promote color and aroma, as well as contact with American and French oak barrels, the same during three wine harvest years. The chemical and sensorial data obtained from traditionally elaborated wines and those elaborated with the innovations have been statistically compared.
On her part, Amaya Zaracaín Aramburu, Assistant Professor of the Science and Agroforestry Department of the Technical College of Agriculture Engineers of Albacete, focused her study on the latest advances in a matter as thorny for the industry as "corked wine", "Evaluation of haloanisoles and halophenols in quality red wines and their impact on consumption". This is one of the most serious problems that the wine sector and cork industry face, due to the important consumer rejection and because of its possible toxicity", affirmed this investigator who considers all these factors to be relevant in the drop experienced in wine consumption.
This study has determined and quantified the chemical compounds responsible for the 'cork taste', the same with a total of 600 quality wines corresponding to 'crianza', reserve and grand reserve, all registered in the main Spanish Denominations of Origin. The harvest year, types of barrel wood and consumer sales price are all factors that have been taken into consideration.
The fourth study presented at this sector meeting was: are autochthonous yeasts competing with active dry yeasts used in Castilla-La Mancha wineries? The author of the study is Ana Isabel Briones Pérez, Full Professor of the Analytical Chemistry and Food Technology Department of the Faculty of Chemical Sciences in Ciudad Real.
This paper shows that in the last decade use of active dry yeast in vinification is a regular practice at most wineries. Castilla-La Mancha is leader in the use of these yeasts, given that it is the region with the greatest surface dedicated to vine cultivation. Notwithstanding, occasionally these initiator crops are unable to establish themselves during fermentation, being substituted by autochthonous yeasts, which turn into dominating factors in the process.
Finally, Isidro Hermosín Gutierrez, Full Professor of Analytical Chemistry and Food Technology at the Ciudad Real Technical Agriculture University College of Engineering, has presented 'Relevance of the different types of phenolic compounds in relation to red wine quality'. A line of investigation that analyzes the enological role of certain types of phenolic compounds that are less known than the normal anthocyans and tanines. These other types of molecules hold a very relevant role in phenomena as important in the elaboration of red wine as transfer of phenolic compounds to the wine grape, or evolution of color during ageing and maturing.
The results obtained from the investigation suggest new ideas in that pertaining to the ideal grape production conditions and adaptation of elaboration processes to the characteristics of the grape and desired wine. In addition, some of these phenolic compounds are very useful in that pertaining to traceability, given that they are excellent chemical markers.
All these works are fascinating and not only because of their scientific value, but because of their repercussion in the wine industry and in the perception of the consumer.