Fruity wines have gained popularity in recent years. For this reason, winegrape growers and winemakers need to update their current practices and strategies to obtain wines with specific sensory profiles to satisfy consumer preferences. Since optimal grape quality and alcohol fermentation are dependent on nitrogen availability, the management of nitrogen in the vineyard and the winery significantly impacts the aromatic composition and flavor of the wine. Monitoring and optimizing nitrogen management from the vineyard to the winery is extremely important to obtain quality wines with the desired sensory and aromatic profile.
Our goal is to offer winegrape growers and winemakers an integrated nitrogen management plan from the vineyard to the winery to obtain wines with specific sensory profiles. To this end, we are planning to develop a range of tools to manage nitrogen inputs throughout the grape-growing and wine-making processes:
Decision support tools (DST)
providing a precise strategy to manage nitrogen inputs from the vineyard to the winery, with intelligent communication between the Vine DST and the Winery DST.
Organic fertilizers and natural biostimulants:
providing optimal nitrogen inputs for the vineyard, with production focused more on quality than on yield.
Innovative yeast and nutrient pairings:
strategies to obtain specific aromatic profiles.
High-throughput sampling and analysis systems:
(1) to monitor the winemaking process based on accurate measurements and (2) to make use of the Winery DST.
WP1: Project management and coordination
Objective: to coordinate, encourage and support collaborative work among project partners, promote high-quality output from each work package and facilitate the decision making process and communication within the consortium. Particular attention will be paid to sharing the results obtained with the winemaking sector.
WP2: Technical and agronomical requirements
Objective: to identify the needs and expectations of winegrape growers and winemakers regarding organic fertilizers, biostimulants, and nutrients for the fermentation process, as well as in terms of decision support tools to manage nitrogen inputs in vineyards and wineries.
WP3: Development of protocols to monitor soil, grape, must and wine chemical composition
Objective: to develop and make available to winegrape growers and winemakers monitoring tools to assess the chemical composition of soils, raw materials (grapes and must) and the final product (wine). High-throughput sampling protocols for the grapes, musts, and wines will be developed to facilitate sample transfer and storage by wine sector professionals.
WP4: Assessment of nitrogen impact on grapevines
Objective: to assess the impact of different types of nitrogen fertilizers on vine growth, yield and must quality.
WP5: Assessment of nitrogen input and yeast selection on the fermentation process
Objective: to select the appropriate yeast strains and nitrogen inputs during fermentation to control the wine’s aromatic profile based on the must characteristics.
WP6: Development of decision support tools for nitrogen management in the vineyard and the winery
Objective: to compile and analyze the results from WP4 and WP5 on the effects of nitrogen inputs on the production and quality targets for a given product to design a decision support tool (DST) to manage nitrogen fertilization throughout the winegrowing and winemaking sector.
- The Vineyard DST will help winegrape growers manage nitrogen fertilization according to specific yield and quality targets, taking into account the environmental impacts of different fertilizers (organic vs inorganic), as well as differences in nitrogen availability for the vines based on the type of fertilizer used.
- The winery DST will help winemakers predict wine profiles based on the initial must characteristics and the wine profiles achievable based on different winemaking techniques (i.e. nitrogen inputs and yeast strain used).