UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Correlating Sensory Assessment of Smoke-Tainted Wines with Inter-Laboratory Study Consensus Values for Volatile Phenols Favell, James W.; Wilkinson, Kerry L.; Zigg, Ieva; Lyons, Sarah M.; Ristic, Renata; Puglisi, Carolyn J.; Wilkes, Eric; Taylor, Randell; Kelly, Duane; Howell, Greg; et al.


Vineyard exposure to wildfire smoke can taint grapes and wine. To understand the impact of this taint, it is imperative that the analytical methods used are accurate and precise. This study compared the variance across nine commercial and research laboratories following quantitative analysis of the same set of smoke-tainted wines. In parallel, correlations between the interlaboratory consensus values for smoke-taint markers and sensory analyses of the same smoke-tainted wines were evaluated. For free guaiacol, the mean accuracy was 94 ± 11% in model wine, while the free cresols and 4-methylguaiacol showed a negative bias and/or decreased precision relative to guaiacol. Similar trends were observed in smoke-tainted wines, with the cresols and glycosidically bound markers demonstrating high variance. Collectively, the interlaboratory results show that data from a single laboratory can be used quantitatively to understand smoke-taint. Results from different laboratories, however, should not be directly compared due to the high variance between study participants. Correlations between consensus compositional data and sensory evaluations suggest the risk of perceivable smoke-taint can be predicted from free cresol concentrations, overcoming limitations associated with the occurrence of some volatile phenols, guaiacol in particular, as natural constituents of some grape cultivars and of the oak used for barrel maturation.

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