Dear Café Scientifiquers, our next café will happen on Tuesday June 30th, 7:30pm at The Railway Club. Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Simone Castellarin.  The title of his talk is:

Chemical Makeup of Grapes: How Grape Variety and Climate Determine Wine Quality

Winemaking technologies and styles are critical to transforming high quality grapes into premium wines, but the quality of wine is really a process that begins in the vineyard.

Wine flavor and aroma are determined by a complex matrix of compounds accumulated in grapes during their development.  This matrix includes organic acids, tannins, anthocyanins (the pigments of red grapes), and aromatics, as well as a large amount of sugars that are transformed into ethanol during fermentation. Even though  the genetic background of grape varieties has a strong imprint on the chemical makeup of grapes, environmental factors  (e.g., temperature, sunlight, water availability) interact with genes to  determine the basis for the wide spectrum of wines we can find in the store shelves.

In this talk, we will explore the effects that the complex relationships between grape varieties and environmental factors have on the composition of the fruit and quality of wines. In addition, we will touch on how the study of grapevine genomes and their interaction with climate may boost the ability of viticulturists to understand the underlying biology that determines the complexity of wines, and the tools that they can employ to improve fruit composition and wine quality.


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