2009 Best Paper Awards Announced

AJEV Best Papers Examine the Alteration of Anthocyanin in Merlot Grapes and Transporter Genes in Yeast Wine Strains

“Berry Temperature and Solar Radiation Alter Acylation, Proportion, and Concentration of Anthocyanin in Merlot Grapes” (59:235-247), authored by Julie Tarara,Jungmin Lee, Sara Spayd and Carolyn Scagel, and representing joint research between the USDA-ARS and WSU, Prosser, has been awarded the best viticulture paper. The best enology paper, “Analysis of the Major Hexose Transporter Genes in Wine Strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (59:265-275), was authored by Jonathan Karpel, Warren Place and Linda Bisson, from the University of California, Davis.

Each year, the ASEV Best Paper Committee completes an evaluation of all research articles published in the AJEV for the prior year. The committee selects one paper in enology and one in viticulture that is deemed outstanding in its content and a substantial contribution to its field.

The viticulture research tested the effects of sun exposure on anthocyanin composition in Merlot and separated out effects from the increase in berry temperature and the solar radiation itself. “Growers and researchers have long speculated about this relationship, but the authors of this paper were the first to conduct research to specifically address the issue, both in this current article and in 2002,” explained best paper committee member Connie Fisk. “The paper finished with strong conclusions about the effects of the synergistic combination of solar radiation and berry temperature on anthocyanin accumulation and profile in Merlot berries, which the authors showed were more complex than previously reported. Knowledge gained from this work is immediately applicable to the industry, as management of vineyard canopy and microclimate play a significant role in the high-quality production of grapes and wine.”

The enology research was deemed superior given its potential for practical application to the wine industry. “The results pointed to a specific gene mutation affecting ethanol tolerance that may exist in vineyard or winery strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This information has the potential to be turned into a diagnostic tool for such important problems as stuck and sluggish fermentations at wineries,” noted committee member Torey Arvik.

The 2008-2009 committee was Patty Saldivar (chair), Viticultural Consultant; Paul Anamosa, Vineyard Soil Technologies; Torey Arvik, Jackson Family Enterprises; Chris Cooney, Provenance Vineyards; Connie Fisk, North Carolina State University; Mark Greenspan, Advanced Viticulture; David Stevens, Davon International; and Steve Vasquez, University of California Cooperative Extension. The authors will receive recognition and a monetary award at the June 2009 ASEV Annual Meeting in Napa, California.

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