Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Agriculture - Food Science and Nutrition


Food Science and Nutrition


College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Luis Federico Casassa

Advisor Department

Food Science and Nutrition

Advisor College

College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Descriptive sensory analysis is essential to understanding how differing varietals, viticultural techniques, enological techniques, vintage, regions, etc. impact the sensory characteristics found in wines. These studies analyzed the sensory impacts of vine age, whole cluster and stem addition influences, the frequency of cap management regimes, and selected fermentation variables, on 2019 Zinfandel, 2020 Syrah, 2020 Tannat, 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2021 Graciano wines respectively, from the Central Coast of California, USA. The investigation of Old vine Zinfandel indicated that these wines were defined as complex due to the wide variety of descriptors used to characterize them, having high color saturation and long length, while the Young vine wines were described as considerably less aromatically diverse, yet being defined by high intensity wet topsoil and pomegranate aromas. Acknowledging the absence of literature on classifying Californian Tannat, descriptors such as high color saturation, purple hue, cooked blue fruit, violet, raisin, bitterness, and astringency may serve as descriptors to these uncommon wines. Regarding stem addition, Dried stem wines exhibited the highest color saturation, purple hue, and astringency intensities in both the Syrah and Tannat wines. Generally, the Green stem wines were less lifted, however the presence of stems added a sense of freshness. The Whole cluster and Control wines generally opposed each other. With reference to cap management, as punch down (PD) increased, perceptions of the overall astringency, bitterness, and velvety characteristics increased. Concerning the various fermentation variables, dirty (unwashed grapes prior to fermentation) wines were described by the earthy aroma, washed (washed grapes prior to fermentation) wines by the floral aroma, and spontaneous (uninoculated) wines by the fruity aromas; however, fruity was the predominant aroma across most wines.

Available for download on Monday, June 09, 2025