Roma, Montecitorio Palace,  20th February 2015


“DNA traces the micro-geographical origin of Brunello di Montalcino”


Jacopo Bigliazzi
Department of  “Science of the Vine”, University of Siena


In Europe, designation of origin wines are subject to strict controls that guarantee their varietal composition and geographic origin.

New biotechnologies have a significant importance in helping producers to meet requirements imposed by the market, both in terms of quality and traceability of the product and food safety. In this context, analyses to identify the variety in wine DNA residues in the last decade have been considered by some import-export controlling and regulating bodies (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, USA) to be a strategic tool for certifying the varietal composition of a wine. Combating fraud in a wine requires, as a quality prerequisite, the identification and quantification of the varietal components used in conformity with the production regulations. The method of molecular analysis applied to nucleic acid residues extracted from wine can be considered a good starting point for the application of a system of molecular control analysis, applicable both to varietal wines and blended ones. Analysis of the molecular profile of a wine with respect to grape varieties (“DNA coherence test”) is an analytical tool able to objectively testify to the authenticity of a product.

Defining the molecular profile of a wine, or “Wine-DNA-Fingerprinting” (WDF), mainly guarantees the varietal composition. However, the high genetic variability of many productive vineyards of historic wineries in Tuscany has made it possible to identify certain Sangiovese biotypes with a distinctive genetic profile. Therefore it is possible to use the peculiarity of the profile of these vines to create a kind of traceable molecular “tag” in the wine, which indicates the micro-geographical origin. This method is currently being studied at the Case Basse winery, owned by Gianfranco Soldera, and proves how in some cases it is possible to use the WDF technique to indicate geographic origin.


“The influence of interannual meteorological variability on yeast content and composition in Sangiovese grapes”

Lorenzo Brilli
University of Florence, DiSPAA, Florence


Kloeckera apiculata and Candida zemplinina make up nearly all of the non-Saccharomyces species of yeasts (more than 95%), both on grapes and in musts. These yeasts are able to accumulate secondary metabolites whose importance in increasing aromatic complexity in wine is commonly known. For this reason, variations in both their total number (i.e. the whole population) and in the relationship between the two species may cause a change in the wine’s flavour and aroma.

These variations are caused by numerous variables, including climatic conditions and viticultural practices. These elements have a strong effect on the environment in which yeasts live and may therefore cause alterations in both their quantity and composition. These alterations may consequently cause variations in the final characteristics of the wine. This work analysed the relationship between the whole population of yeasts every year from 1997 to 2012, as well as the relationship between the species and the main meteorological variations (temperature, relative humidity and rainfall). The study was carried out in a Sangiovese vineyard located in the Montalcino area. The results indicated that the meteorological conditions from 25 to 30 days before the harvest, especially the rainfall and relative humidity, were strongly correlated with the total number of yeasts. Furthermore, the two species that were mainly present, K. apiculata and C. zemplinina, proved to be correlated with air temperature values 10 days from the harvest, that is in line with defoliation practices of the vine. These results indicated how meteorological conditions and canopy management practices can influence the whole microbial community present on the grapes and in the must, as well as the relationship between the species that form it, proving to be fundamental drivers in the formation of the aromatic complexity of a wine.

Source: Brilli, L., Buscioni, G., Moriondo, M.,  Bindi, M., Vincenzini, M. 2014. Influence of Interannual Meteorological Variability on Yeast Content and Composition in Sangiovese Grapes. Am. J. Enol. Vitic. 65:3 (2014), 375-380, doi: 10.5344/ajev.2014.13116


“Grapevine leaf stripe disease: new strategies of defense”


Daniele Davitti
University of Florence – Faculty of Agriculture


The main purpose of the thesis is to contribute to the planning of a trial period on several years with which assess the effectiveness of four new products in the fight against the “bait complex” of the vine.

This thesis, in fact, reports the experimental data for the first year (year 2013) in comparison with the year 2012 in the absence of intervention. Therefore, the reported results cannot be considered as final results, but they have to be considered as basis of an experimental period much longer and evolving. The analysis of the results in 2013, is therefore a preliminary assessment of the effect of the treatments.

The products used for the tests are four: a commercial preparation based on Trichoderma, a mixture of experimental foliar nutrients and two commercial products based on penetrating copper.

The collected data have been reported on dedicated maps where to each symptomatic plant has been attributed besides the specific symptomatology also the degree of attack of the symptom. The reworking of the data involves comparison between the treated experimental particles and particles treated in the absence of the intervention of the following data:

– average annual incidence;

– new symptomatic plants;

– apoplectic plants.

In the analysis of the experimental evidence , we must consider that there has been a considerable difference by the meteorological point of view between the two year examined, which it saw opposing a dry spring-summer in 2012 to a season abundant rainy in 2013.

It therefore remains difficult to assess only one year of treatment, especially in conditions of such a high incidence of disease due to the heavy rainfalls in the year 2013. The only positive evaluation of the first year of experimentation can be done for the particle treated with Remedier that showed a lower increase of incidence compared to the untreated.

The other particles treated with copper and nutrients, have shown an increase in incidence proportional to the previous year and independent by the different experimental treatments executed.

These early results, although not very encouraging, they may represent a starting point to better understand the real effectiveness of these treatments.


“High-resolution UAV remote sensing and sensor nodes proximal sensing approach to investigate thermal dynamics in vineyard”

Salvatore Filippo Di Gennaro1-2
1Instituto di Biometeorologia (IBIMET), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) Firenze
2Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie e Ambientali, Universitą di Perugia


In a long-term perspective, the current global agricultural scenario will be characterize by critical issues in terms of water resource management and environmental protection. The progressive impact of Climate Change on viticulture requires enhancing knowledge of plant response to summer stresses caused by Global Warming. The relationship between sunlight exposure and berry temperature is important for berry composition and metabolism (Spayd et al. 2002). The effects of light on fruit composition are heavily dependent upon the extent to which berry temperature is elevated because of increased sunlight exposure, because high berry temperature can inhibit colour development (Bergqvist et al. 2001, Yamane et al. 2006, Tarara et al. 2008) and reduce the content of aroma compounds up to berry shriveling and sunburn damage.

The objective of this work is an evaluation of the heat and radiative stress effects both on cluster and canopy level, and consequently on the grape quality. In order to pursue this objective, this research suggest a high-resolution approach, which combines remote and proximal sensing with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and micrometeorological monitoring nodes, respectively. This work illustrates the experimental design and the preliminary results of the experimentation, which takes place in a vineyard part of Agricola Case Basse of Gianfranco Soldera, located in the Montalcino Domain in Tuscany (Italy). Multispectral images were acquired from the experimental vineyard during a first flight campaign on 27/06/2014 using an UAV platform, which consists of a modified multi-rotor MikrokopterOktoXL (HiSystems GmbH, Moomerland, Germany), equipped a Tetracam ADC Lite (Tetracam, Inc., Gainesville, FL, USA). This preliminary flight allows to identify four homogenous plots in term of vigor, where a series of wireless sensor nodes were placed in order to monitor canopy and cluster temperature. Before harvest, a second flight was realized on 30/09/2014 to acquire high-resolution multispectral (0.04 m/pixel) and thermal (0.15 m/pixel) images, mounting a FLIR TAU II 320 (FLIR Systems, Inc., USA) on the UAV camera mount alongside the multispectral camera. A climatic analysis of this first year has been performed with data collected by an agrometeorological weather station located near the vineyard.

The work describes the image processing workflows utilized to elaborate vigor and thermal maps, afterwards were presented interesting correlations obtained from pixel × pixel analysis between those maps. The peculiarity of this season resides in the fact that it was characterized by low summer temperatures and high precipitation, on the contrary of the previous years, which have been extremely hot and dry. This trend caused a reduction of vigor and thermal variability monitored by UAV, as well as for canopy and cluster temperatures data acquired by sensor nodes. Although 2014 season has no provided such conditions causing summer stresses, the interesting results suggest that the next years will provide important information to explore the extreme variability that is increasingly changing the climate and which represents one of the new challenge.


The evolution of the sensory profile of Italian red wines after opening the bottle – Analysis of the development and of the characterization of the sensory profile of red wines after opening the bottle: Italian red wines and the ‘great wines'”


Dr. Claudia Ferretti
Soc. Coop. Centro Studi Assaggiatori, Brescia


The sense of smell is related to ancestral areas of our brain, the less rational, the more connected to our memory. Smell is the sense of danger and at the same time it is  the sense of love.

Science, technology and nature create a wine that aspires to greatness. After many efforts the final test takes place at the opening of the bottle: if it has no defects, if it has lots of good aromas, if it can excite and evoke memories through the perception, it will be a great wine. Sensory analysis is the science that investigates this part of the nature: the man who lives the wine. It is the measurement of sensory stimuli developed by wine and perceived by man. This science was long used in our studies to investigate, monitor and develop the Brunello di Montalcino and 100% Sangiovese wines.

How long does the precious sensory profile of wine lives? This question have great importance if we consider the contemporary revival of consumption of wine by the glass.

In the course of 2013 we have proven that there is an evolution in the sensory profile of red wine that starts when you open the bottle. We have tested samples of red wine by 0 to 144 hours of opening of the bottles. And this evolution goes in a different way between aging wines of ancient enology  (“important wines”) and those of the new enology (” young “).

So what about the the evolution of the sensory profile of Italian red wines and of the important ones after more than 100 hours of opening of the bottle?

We have investigated the evolution of the sensory profile of different kinds of red wine coming from just opened bottles and after more than 100 hours of opening. The sample was composed by three different vintages of 100% Sangiovese Case Basse Soldera and 31 samples of the more widespread red wine on the market in Italy (selected on a total of 144 samples analyzed).

Two big tests:

1) three commissions in 36 tasting sessions evaluated 144 samples of Italian more widespread red wines and three different 100% Sangiovese Case Basse Soldera just uncorked;

2) two commissions in 6 tasting sessions evaluated 28 of these samples representing different kind of wines more present on the Italian market and three different 100% Sangiovese Case Basse Soldera after more than 100 hours by the opening of the bottle.

One method: Trialtest, that measures 22 descriptors and defines the descriptive and hedonic profile, checking the reliability of the descriptors, the performance index of the judges and the card used for the measurement of values.

The profiles and the data obtained by tests were processed with statistical techniques (parametric and non-parametric univariate and multivariate) comparing the sensory profile of the products with some important characteristics like the origin, the name, the vintage and the alcohol and hedonic data to verify the behavior of these variables. This was done examining the samples opened by more than 100 hours and the same freshly opened.

Data emerged from the research reveal that:

  • after more than 100 hours from the opening of the bottle, samples have kept intact their main sensory characteristics;
  • samples that have obtained better performance after more than 100 hours by the opening of the bottle were characterized by good spherical perception, structure, aromatic richness and persistence, by presence of spicy aromas; astringency and acidity prevail on the bitter;
  • samples that had high performance in the first test (0 hours opening), have achieved high performance even after 100 hours; the samples that underperformed on just opened bottles tests, so were after 100, but they didn’t suffer serious declines;
  • the “overall opinion” expressed on samples opened by more than 100 hours was related to the variables of the year and the alcohol gradation;
  • “important wines” emerged as a distinct group and some of them were present in the group of samples that best evaluated in the “global evaluation” on just opened bottles and on long time opened bottles.
  • the sensory profiles of the samples of 100% Sangiovese Case Basse Soldera have changed over time in a harmonious way. After 100 hours of opening they revealed a good presence of color saturation, olfactory intensity, fruity, floral and spicy, they have revealed a good structure, supported by high spherical perception, a good acidity and a slight presence of bitter and astringency.

Today Italian red wine is suitable to be tasted even after many hours of opening of the bottle. When the wine has a rich and clean sensory profile at just opened bottle, it will be rewarding for a long time even by uncorked bottle.

This is a first step to develop a model of investigation that aims to give information to the producers in order to enhance the quality and in order to offer a useful tool for work for restaurateurs and to protect consumers.


“Early defoliation: effect on the quality of Sangiovese grapes and wines subjected to lengthy wood ageing.”

Supervisor: Francesca Venturi
Year: 2012-2013
 Giulia Härri
Undergraduate course in Viticulture and Enology, University of Pisa


The main aim of this experiment is to study the increase in quality of Sangiovese grapes, which can improve the product and increase typicity. The vineyard under study is located in Montalcino, the area devoted to the cultivation of Sangiovese grapes. This variety is sensitive to environmental and agronomical stress and requires careful canopy management in order to maintain a good leaf-fruit balance to limit the yield per unit, which gives quality grapes and high-quality wines such as Brunello di Montalcino.

Among the various agronomic techniques proposed in literature for canopy management, early defoliation of the basal tract of the fruiting bud, carried out around the phenological phase of flowering, allows the source-sink balance of the vine to be altered, directly influencing the structure of the bunch and the composition of the berry.

In this context, the effect of manual defoliation and a pseudo-mechanical variant on Sangiovese grapes, with respect to the control sample of 2013 at one Estate of Montalcino, has been verified through the chemical-compositional and sensory characterization of the berries from veraison up to the harvest. At the same time, chemical-compositional and sensory analysis were carried out on the wines produced, with the same experimental protocol as the previous years (2011 and 2012) and currently ageing in wood, in order to verify if the differences found in the grapes due to the effect of early defoliation were also found in the wine, even after a long period of ageing.

More specifically, the early defoliation technique in 2013, if compared to a non-defoliated control sample, proved to be effective in influencing the morphological characteristics of the bunch, which turned out to be more loosely-packed, with smaller berries and therefore with a higher skin to pulp ratio linked to the excellent compositional characteristics necessary for wines for ageing. The phenolic content of the grapes from defoliated vines was significantly higher than the control sample throughout ripening and manual defoliation proved to be more effective than the pseudo-mechanical one.

After prolonged ageing in wood, however, it appears that any differences found in the grapes treated in 2011 and 2012 gradually decreased in the wines due to ageing, being noticeable only in the taste.


“The yellow spider mite Eothetranychus Carpini: presence and damages’ control in Tuscan vineyards”


Giuseppe Mazza
Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l’analisi dell’economia agraria – Centro di ricerca per l’Agrobiologia e la Pedologia, Firenze


The yellow spider mite Eotetranychus carpini (Oudemans, 1905) (Acari, Tetranychidae), is a phytophagous pest, spread in the Mediterranean area. In Italy, this mite is associated to vine, but is reported also on other plants. In Tuscan viticulture, the control of the yellow spider mite is relevant, since it can cause severe damages to vegetation and significant production losses. The intensity of the damage is amplified by untimely control interventions, frequently due to difficulties in relating the onset of the first damages, the abundance/structure of the pest population and the lack of natural enemies such as Phytoseiid mites.

The data acquired (over 4,500 observations), after long-term monitoring in areas of production of high quality wines, such as Montalcino and Val d’Orcia, are reported in order to present a possible tool to evaluate if/how the presence/abundance/distribution of the developmental stages of this Tetranychid mite and other items related to the plant phenology and cultivars can affect the damage level.

Over 50% of the samples were damaged; the damage intensity and evolution were influenced by the abundance and the structure of the population of E. carpini, by the sampling time and by the vine cultivar considered. The development and use of these data could be a considerable support in the timely diagnosis and prevention of the damage caused by E. carpini.


“Soil Moisture Analysis by Wireless Communications, An Effective Means towards Sustainable Viticulture”

Riccardo Stefanelli, Elisa Pievanelli, Abel Rodriguez de la Concepcion
iXem Labs, Polytechnic University of Turin


In recent years, monitoring micro-climatic conditions in the vineyard has become a support tool for vinegrowers in order to facilitate sustainable agriculture. The solution proposed by iXem Labs concerns the monitoring of soil humidity conditions by combining a precise and detailed measurement, using a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), with a system of wireless sensors that offers continuous analysis through time. The GPR is a well-known technique that has been used in the past to identify objects or cavities in the terrain and we have readapted it to detect the presence of humidity in the soil to a depth of 3-4 metres. A measurement campaign was carried out in the “Sinistra Intistieti” vineyard of the Case Basse winery, in September 2014. Results confirmed that areas with different humidity levels coexist within the same vineyard, distributed in both horizontal and vertical underground stratifications. These results will be compared with those obtained by a wireless micro sensors network, made by the same laboratory, which offer not only the common environmental parameters but also the chance to detect images with high-definition micro cameras. This enables us to correlate the state of the soil in depth with the visual appearance of the vineyard. A non-invasive sensor has been designed to analyze soil stratification. It works through radio waves able to estimate variations in time of the complex dielectric constant of the terrain and therefore the quantity of water present. The sensor is made up of two shafts with transceiver radiators that exchange a radio signal. The variation of the radio signal is used to calculate humidity. Analyses will be repeated in the 2015 and extended to all the Case Basse vineyards.


“Wine geographic traceability by quantification of lanthanides atoms”

Emanuela Pusceddu
Institute of Biometeorology – National Research Council, Firenze


The matter of authenticity of food products is assuming an increasing importance, considering the substantial economic losses resulting from fraud concerning the labeling, adulteration and origin of products. The scientific community, with different approaches, has devoted a wide effort to hinder the adulterations of a number of agro-products (wine, rise, oil, wheat, etc.).  Several investigation techniques are currently used to characterize food matrices from physical, chemical and biological point of view using different techniques. Some of these are based on the detection and quantification of Rare Earths (REEs, Lanthanides family) in the bio-matrix and on the analysis of the correlation between amounts found in food matrices and in soils of origin. The elements of the lanthanides family are unevenly distributed in ultra-trace (ng/L) on earth and could act as efficient markers of the origin of a material. Several studies have been made to correlate food products with their soil of origin, using REEs markers. A further step in this direction is the detection of crystalline structures of REEs as a discriminant part of spectrum-fingerprint, a method that promises to improve the simple quantification of lanthanides elements. In the present work, using the INES difractometer operational at RAL – ISIS (Oxford, UK),   we analyzed the spectra of three must-grapes and their corresponding soils coming from three different vineyard: two neighbors vineyards ‘Case Basse’ and ‘Intistieti’  (Montalcino, Siena,  Italy) and a vineyard from a different location Montepaldi (San Casciano Val di Pesa, Florence, Italy); the preparation protocol consisted in to freeze-dry both must-grape and soil samples to reduce the amorphous signal due to the presence of water. By neutron diffraction technique we obtained the diffraction spectra of soil and must-grape samples From the spectra treatment, specific crystal structures were identified in each soil/must-grape pair. In the samples relative to the Case Basse vineyard the crystal structure of the Deveroite-Ce mineral containing the cerium (Ce) lanthanide was detected in both the soil and the must-grape; in the Institieti vineyard, close to Case Basse, Perrierite-Ce and Gadolinite-Y minerals were found, containing lanthanides species such as Yttrium (Y), Cerium (Ce), Neodymium (Nd), and Lanthanum (La); while, in the soil and must-grape of Montepaldi vineyard the Monazite- (La) mineral, containing lanthanum atoms, was detected. These minerals univocally characterize the samples and enable to relate the must-grape to its geographical area of production. A further step that will be implemented in the future consists in the analysis of final product (wine) to assess if the soil fingerprint that was found in the must-grape is consistent also in the wine and if it shows inter-annual variability. This research opens new perspectives in the domain of wine geographic traceability potentially enabling a univocal profiling of wine’s place of origin.


“Influence of yeast species involved in the alcoholic fermentation on flavonoids, tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol content in wines from Sangiovese grapes produced in Montalcino area”


Yuri Romboli
Dipartimento di Gestione dei Sistemi Agrari, Alimentari e Forestali, sez. Scienze e Tecnologie Alimentari e Microbiologiche, Universitą degli Studi di Firenze


The aim of this work was to investigate the effect of different yeast species involved in the alcoholic fermentation and aeration of musts on the accumulation of health promoting compounds in Sangiovese wines. In particular, the attention was focused on molecules derived from grapes, such as anthocyanins, flavonols and flavan-3-ol monomers, and on tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol which are higher alcohols produced by yeasts during the alcoholic fermentation. To this purpose, the study was performed by comparing wines obtained from the same Sangiovese grape must with its skins and seeds fermented under laboratory conditions using either Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain Sc1 alone or a sequential inoculum of Candida zemplinina strain Cz1 (Starmerella bacillaris according to Duarte et al., 2012) followed after 5 days by S. cerevisiae Sc1. Moreover, the experimental vinifications were carried out with or without aeration of grape musts.

Significant differences were found on total phenolic index and total flavan-3-ol monomer contents in the experimental wines. In particular, lower values were detected in wines produced with sequential inoculum. Such results were probably related to the rates of ethanol production which was strongly influenced by the yeast species involved during the alcoholic fermentation. Besides, a strong effect of aeration was reported on the concentrations of non polymeric anthocyanins, flavonols and, to a lower extent, flavan-3-ol monomers, probably as a consequence of their susceptibly to oxidation reactions.

Anthocyanin profiles resulted influenced by the type of inoculum and, to a lesser extent, by aeration of musts. In particular, the experimental wines produced with sequential inoculum were characterized by higher abundance of disubstituted anthocyanins (cyanidin-3-O-glucoside and peonidin-3-O-glucoside) and vitisin A and by lower relative abundance of malvidin-3-O-glucoside. Moreover, the type of inoculum and the aeration of musts seemed to affect the relative abundances of quercetin and its glycosides.

Finally, the higher amount of tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol were found in the experimental wines produced by fermentation carried out by S. cerevisiae in non-aerated conditions. Moreover, the tyrosol to hydroxytyrosol ratio was higher in non-aerated fermentations. This might suggest that aeration influenced the enzymatic conversion of tyrosol into hydroxytyrosol.

Duarte et al., Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek, 102:653