Berry Size Variation of Vitis vinifera L. cv. Syrah: Morphological Dimensions, Berry Composition and Wine Quality

  • M.S. Melo Hochschule Geisenheim University, Von-Lade Str. 1, 65366 Geisenheim, Germany ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, Private Bag X5026, 7599 Stellenbosch, South Africa Department of Viticulture and Oenology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag XI, Matieland 7602, South Africa
  • H.R. Schultz Hochschule Geisenheim University, Von-Lade Str. 1, 65366 Geisenheim, Germany
  • C.G. Volschenk ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, Private Bag X5026, 7599 Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • J.J. Hunter ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, Private Bag X5026, 7599 Stellenbosch, South Africa Department of Viticulture and Oenology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag XI, Matieland 7602, South Africa

Abstract

Berry size has always been a quality factor in wine production. In this study, Syrah grapes from a single
vineyard were classified into different size groups according to diameter: small (< 13 mm), medium
(13 < diameter < 14 mm) and large (> 14 mm). Smaller berries were present in the highest and larger
berries in the lowest numbers. Size distributions were similar in both seasons (2010/2011 and 2011/2012).
Berry physical characteristics (mass, volume and skin area) increased with size, showing the same tendency
in both years. Positive correlations between berry mass, volume and skin area were found, whereas these
variables were negatively related with berry number/kg grapes. Berry volume was negatively correlated
with dry skin weight. Skin surface area/berry volume seems to be an indicator of the “dilution” effect
associated with increasing size, as larger berries presented the lowest values. In 2012 the grapes were
harvested at a higher soluble solid level than in the previous year; large-sized berries presented the lowest
levels in both years. The whole-berry analysis of total anthocyanins showed a decrease in concentration
and increase in content per berry, from smaller to larger berries. Small berries and the control (naturally
occurring berry size mixture) showed a higher extractability of anthocyanins and phenolic compounds
than the medium and large berries. Sensorially, wines from medium berries were more consistent over the
two years, scoring higher than the rest. Berry sizes were related to wine style differences, and knowing the
population of berry sizes in the vineyard close to harvest would offer a possibility to predict wine styles.
Published
2016-09-12
Section
Articles