That is, the difference that soil, weather and location make in the taste of a vintage. The French refer to it as "terroir," and the researchers' goal is to scientifically identify and map terroir categories that will benefit the producers who make wines and the connoisseurs who enjoy drinking them.
Shawn Hutchinson, a K-State associate professor of geography on sabbatical in France, is working with Michael Gay, a professor at the University of Toulouse-Ecole d'Ingenieurs de Purpan. They are using geographic information systems -- known as GIS -- to quantify the impact of place on the quality of grapes and the wine that is produced.
"Few wine enthusiasts would confuse a wine originating from Bordeaux with one from the Languedoc region of France, even though they might have been produced from the same species of grapes," Hutchinson said. "While the traditional wine making processes employed in those areas certainly contribute to differences, of equal importance is where and how the grapes were grown, including differences in weather, soils and topographical orientation."
Hutchinson said it is widely known that how and where grapes are grown and enological practices have significant impact on wine quality. However, he said few have established a quantitative link between place and quality.
To establish this link, Hutchinson and Gay are looking at the following data from the study area in southwest France: elevation, topographic slope, surface curvature, hours of sunlight and solar radiation during the growing season, and the topographic wetness index, which measures how moist soils may become during a precipitation event.
Then, the researchers are classifying the data to map where the data are similar. In their preliminary results, Hutchinson and Gay have found 10 distinct terroir classes in the Saint Mont region of southwestern France. Next, they will determine whether the vineyards in these terroir classes produce grapes -- and ultimately wine -- of differing quality. They will measure quality based on chemical analyses performed after the 2008 harvest, looking at elements like acidity and alcohol content.
"What we want to do is provide a scientifically valid but market-oriented name to each of the 10 terroir classes, assuming, as our early statistical analyses show, that they are directly correlated to wine quality," Hutchinson said. "Many wine enthusiasts, but especially the French, are very interested in knowing how and where their foods have been grown. The ability of a wine cooperative to include a terroir class in the label information will be well received by French consumers, as it helps meet this informational need."
Shawn Hutchinson | Newswise Science News
Ultra-precise chip-scale sensor detects unprecedentedly small changes at the nanoscale
18.01.2017 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Data analysis optimizes cyber-physical systems in telecommunications and building automation
18.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Algorithmen und Wissenschaftliches Rechnen SCAI
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences