Potential Grape-Derived Contributions to Volatile Ester Concentrations in Wine Boss, Paul K.; Pearce, Anthony D.; Zhao, Yanjia; Nicholson, Emily L.; Dennis, Eric G.; Jeffery, David W.
Grape composition affects wine flavour and aroma not only through varietal compounds, but also by influencing the production of volatile compounds by yeast. C₉ and C₁₂ compounds that potentially influence ethyl ester synthesis during fermentation were studied using a model grape juice medium. It was shown that the addition of free fatty acids, their methyl esters or acyl-carnitine and acyl-amino acid conjugates can increase ethyl ester production in fermentations. The stimulation of ethyl ester production above that of the control was apparent when lower concentrations of the C₉ compounds were added to the model musts compared to the C₁₂ compounds. Four amino acids, which are involved in CoA biosynthesis, were also added to model grape juice medium in the absence of pantothenate to test their ability to influence ethyl and acetate ester production. β-Alanine was the only one shown to increase the production of ethyl esters, free fatty acids and acetate esters. The addition of 1 mg∙L-¹ β-alanine was enough to stimulate production of these compounds and addition of up to 100 mg∙L-¹ β-alanine had no greater effect. The endogenous concentrations of β-alanine in fifty Cabernet Sauvignon grape samples exceeded the 1 mg∙L-¹ required for the stimulatory effect on ethyl and acetate ester production observed in this study.
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