Helping wine merchants offer aromatic appelations

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Wine merchants know certain regions are more popular than others - Champagne is an obvious example for sparkling wines, but others, like the Mendoza region of Argentina, are staking their claim to the red wine market too.

The reasons are complex, but in terms of the wine itself, everything from the soil conditions to the hours of sunshine can affect the flavour of the wine produced.

Now scientists in Germany are discovering more about the mechanisms behind this, in an effort to create even more aromatic wines for wine merchants' shop shelves.

The team from Technische Universitaet Muenchen have identified two enzymes that have an effect on grapes' content of terpenes, chemical substances which, in their free form, influence the flavour.

TUM's Professor Wilfried Schwab said: "Terpenes are biochemically altered in the metabolism of plants - usually through the attachment of sugars, or glycosylation.

"In this attached form, however, the terpenes are no longer aroma-active."

With their research, the scientists are learning more about how to influence the content of unattached terpenes.

It's complex research - but the main thing is, it should allow viticulturists to make the most of the opportunities in their region, from the soil to the sky, and stock wine merchants' shelves with ever-more aromatic wines as a result.