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
A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones
28.03.2017 | Science China Press
Timing a space laser with a NASA-style stopwatch
28.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering