Last updated on February 20, 2008

AJEV Best Papers Examine the Role of Metals in Wine and Recovery from Winter Injury of Vines

“Interaction of Sulfur Dioxide, Polyphenols, and Oxygen in a Wine-Model System: Central Role of Iron and Copper” (58:53-60), authored by John C. Danilewicz, has been awarded the best enology paper published in American Journal of Enology and Viticulture in 2007. The best viticulture paper, “Effect of Pruning on Recovery and Productivity of Cold-Injured Merlot Grapevines” (58:351-357), was authored by Markus Keller and Lynn J. Mills and represented work done at Washington State University, Prosser.

Labeling the Danilewicz paper as “elegant and complex,” the ASEV best paper committee noted that it “brings us significantly closer to a full understanding of the role of metals and their oxidative interactions with phenolics and SO2 in wine. Understanding the important roles that copper and iron play in aging reactions has valuable and far-reaching consequences to winemaking and wine quality. This clear treatment of a complex topic, supported by simple but powerful experimental design, provides elegant, concise, and well-substantiated logical results leading to novel and profound conclusions.”

The committee commended the Keller and Mills paper for its excellent mix of straightforward scientific experimentation leading to applicable results for winegrowers in many regions with sporadic or frequent problems with winter frost damage. The research revises some traditional opinions on re-establishing productivity for injured vines and is expected to have strong impact on viticulture and vineyard management practices in cool climates.

Each year the ASEV best paper committee reviews all research articles published in the AJEV and determines one viticulture and one enology paper that reflect outstanding research and a substantial contribution to its field. The 2007/2008 committee was Christian Butzke (chair), professor, Purdue University; David Hastings, winemaker, Kendall-Jackson, Sonoma; George Vierra, enology instructor, Napa Valley College; Steve Vasquez, UCCE viticulture farm advisor, Fresno; and Carmo Vasconcelos, senior scientist, HortResearch, Marlborough, NZ. The authors will receive recognition and a monetary award at the June 2008 ASEV Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon.

Other articles that received praise from the committee included “Use of GPS and GIS for Elucidation of the Basis for Terroir: Spatial Variation in an Ontario Riesling Vineyard,” by Reynolds et al. (58:145-162). Noting that the word terroir is so misused, the committee commented that “it is refreshing to see an attempt to rigorously bring real meaning to the word. The paper demonstrates the complexity of the topic and how much additional scientifically valid work needs to be done to separate myth from actual.”

In addition, “Functional Analyses of the Malolactic Wine Yeast ML01” by Husnik et al. (58:42-52) and “Yeast Strain and Nitrogen Supplementation: Dynamics of Volatile Ester Production in Chardonnay Juice Fermentations” by Miller et al. (58:470-483) were commended for offering ideas for pilot experiments at wineries that can be tested under each unique environment.

Both best papers are currently highlighted on the ajevonline website and are freely available.