Date of Award

6-2011

Degree Name

MS in Agriculture - Crop Science

Department

Horticulture and Crop Science

Advisor

Dr. W. Keith Patterson

Abstract

Cabernet sauvignon is the most widely planted red wine grape in California and is valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Cabernet sauvignon grapes, when severely vigorous or overcropped, can contain vegetal aromas and flavors when harvested. 3-alkyl-methoxypyrazines are the volatile compounds responsible for this effect and can lower the perceived quality of the wine. Resveratrol is a phytoalexin that has many medical and health benefits and can be found in red wines. An experiment was conducted in Paso Robles, CA to assess the effects of five yield levels, manipulated through cluster thinning, on methoxypyrazine and resveratrol concentrations. Berry weights and chemistry were also measured, in the form of ºBrix, pH, and TA. In 2009 and 2010, no significant statistical differences were found in methoxypyrazines in the harvested grapes. In 2009, resveratrol concentrations were below the detection limits in the wine produced. In 2010, berry weight and chemistry measurements were not significantly different, except for grapes from lightly- and greatly-thinned vines which varied in pH at harvest. The 2009 wines were subjected to discrimination and preference testing by trained tasters. No significant difference was found in the discrimination test and no difference was found using the Friedman and Kramer’s Rank test for the preference test. Only a very slight difference was found between the wines made from unthinned and greatly-thinned vines according to Tukey’s Multiple Comparison Test. The findings of this thesis suggest that cluster thinning does not affect methoxypyrazine and resveratrol concentrations or sensory analysis in Cabernet sauvignon grown on the east side of Paso Roble, CA.