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Correlating Sensory Assessment of Smoke-Tainted Wines with Inter-Laboratory Study Consensus Values for Volatile Phenols

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posted on 2022-09-07, 06:20 authored by James W Favell, Kerry L Wilkinson, Ieva Zigg, Sarah M Lyons, Renata Ristic, Carolyn J Puglisi, Eric Wilkes, Randell Taylor, Duane Kelly, Greg Howell, Marianne McKay, Lucky Mokwena, Tim Plozza, Pei ZhangPei Zhang, AnhDuyen Bui, Ian PorterIan Porter, Orrin Frederick, Jasha Karasek, Colleen Szeto, Bruce S Pan, Steve Tallman, Beth Anne McClure, Hui Feng, Eric Herve, Anita Oberholster, Wesley F Zandberg, Matthew Noestheden
Vineyard exposure to wildfire smoke can taint grapes and wine. To understand the impact of this taint, it is imperative that the analytical methods used are accurate and precise. This study compared the variance across nine commercial and research laboratories following quantitative analysis of the same set of smoke-tainted wines. In parallel, correlations between the interlaboratory consensus values for smoke-taint markers and sensory analyses of the same smoke-tainted wines were evaluated. For free guaiacol, the mean accuracy was 94 ± 11% in model wine, while the free cresols and 4-methylguaiacol showed a negative bias and/or decreased precision relative to guaiacol. Similar trends were observed in smoke-tainted wines, with the cresols and glycosidically bound markers demonstrating high variance. Collectively, the interlaboratory results show that data from a single laboratory can be used quantitatively to understand smoke-taint. Results from different laboratories, however, should not be directly compared due to the high variance between study participants. Correlations between consensus compositional data and sensory evaluations suggest the risk of perceivable smoke-taint can be predicted from free cresol concentrations, overcoming limitations associated with the occurrence of some volatile phenols, guaiacol in particular, as natural constituents of some grape cultivars and of the oak used for barrel maturation.


W.F.Z.: J.W.F. and I.Z. were supported by funding from The University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus) Eminence Program; I.Z. was also supported by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA). R.R. was supported by Australian grape growers and winemakers through their investment body, Wine Australia, with matching funds from the Australian Government. C.S was supported by the Australian Research Council Training Centre for InnovativeWine Production ( as part of the ARC's Industrial Transformation Research Program (Project No. IC170100008).


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© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

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