Course:FNH200/Projects/2020/The Food Science Behind Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most famous red wine grape varieties in the world. It is grown in almost every major wine producing country, spread across a lot of different climates and habitats. It is also known to be a great complement with other famous varieties such as Merlot and Cabernet Franc. It is the most widely planted grape variety worldwide (341,000 hectares). It is well known for its thick, durable skin and the vine’s resilience to the elements. It also is known for its dark color, as well as its alcohol content which goes over 13.5%. Most of these wines, especially from places such as California, Chile and Australia can reach over 15% too.
For many years, there were a lot of myths surrounding the true origin of Cabernet Sauvignon. The origin was unknown until 1996, where a team led by Dr. Meredith at UC Davis was able to discover the variety of the grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon isn’t the oldest wine grape variety. Dr. Meredith established this variety to be less than 600 years old, make it one of the newest wines in the wine industry. The oldest reference to this wine comes from the 18th century and Chateau Mouton. Cabernet Sauvignon got a massively spread in the 1800s, as it was used to replant the phylloxera ravaged vineyards of Europe.
Cabernet Sauvignon was first made in southwestern France through accidental breeding between Cabernet Franc grape and white Sauvignon Blanc grape. After discovering the grape, a lot of varieties were adopted by French winemakers in numerous parts of France, as they searched for highly durable and easy to grow plants. The grape was produced in Bordeaux on a high scale. Winemakers particularly preferred this variety due to the optimal level of tannins. This helped them to age better than other varieties.
In 1976, the production of Cabernet Sauvignon increased in the Napa Valley, California. The wines produced beat the top producer Bordeaux Chateaus in the blind taste test in the 1976 Judgement of Paris. From there the California Cabernet Sauvignon was launched, and people at steakhouses around the world started to order the wine.
In 2016, UC Davis announced that they had sequenced a draft of the whole genome of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape making it the first genome of a commercial wine-producing grape to be sequenced.
Regions and Comparison
Different kinds of grapes cultivated in different regions determine the flavor, color, sugar, acidity and the levels of tannin in the wine. Other conditions, namely climate, weather, sunlight, water, warmth and nutrients in the soil also affect the the taste and flavor of the wine.
Many of the wine growing regions in Europe have relatively cool climates as, usually associate the word “cool” with the “Old World” and “warm” with the “New World.” 
In cooler climates and weather, grapes have more difficulty ripening. Less ripe grapes have high levels of acidity, giving them a tart taste. These grapes also have lower sugar levels, which results in drier wines with lower alcohol and lighter body. The ripeness of grapes is also determined by the amount of sunlight they receive throughout the growing season, regardless of temperature. Excessive rain and and wetness can also be a problem in such regions as that leads to lack of sunlight and diluted raw material for the wine.
Warmer temperatures in general tend to produce more consistent grape harvests. The heat also hastens ripening, producing grapes with lower acidity, higher sugar levels, and darker color. The higher levels of sugar allow for greater levels of alcohol, which makes the wine more full-bodied.
Rising temperatures due to global warming is an concern for the wine making industry as it has been found in a recent climate model that warmer regions are already reaching a heat threshold beyond which quality of grapes will begin to decline.
It is produced in almost every major wine producing country. Different regions lead to a lot of varied tasting notes. Some of the noteworthy regions of production are:
Tasting Notes: Black Currant, Anise, Tobacco Leaf, Plum Sauce, Pencil Lead
France is the world’s largest producer of Cabernet Sauvignon, with over 55,000 hectares planted. Production is centered in the grape’s native region of Bordeaux, particularly on the Left Bank of the Gironde Estuary, in the well-draining soils of the Médoc and Graves.
The Bordeaux red blend is well-known for producing exceptional wines, capable of aging for 20 to 30 years. These wines tend to be full-bodied, with tart black currant and violet notes from the grape, and cedar and cigar box notes from French oak aging. 
Tasting Notes: Black Currant, Blackberry, Pencil Lead, Tobacco, Mint.
This region contains more gravel, along with alluvial soils which provides naturally good drainage. This is perfect for Cabernet Sauvignon. There are slopes, hillsides and mountain vineyards which are the home of volcanic soils, red and white clay as well as sandstone. The soils here are complex, often providing unique, micro-climates. Due to the cooler temperatures, this region gets lower yields, more tannin, fresher, concentrated wines that are usually the last area to complete harvesting. Due to the divergent array of soils and climates, there's a large variety of styles of wines available.
Tasting Notes: Black Plum, White Pepper, Currant Candy, Chocolate, Bay Leaf.
The southern portion of the country near Perth in Western Australia, Adelaide in South Australia and near Melbourne in Victoria are all coastal areas cooled by ocean breezes and therefore suitable for vineyards. The climate in this region is generally described as Mediterranean. This combination of warm days allows for adequate ripening of fruit and preservation of acidity due to the cool nights. Australian expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon are more compact, with marked tannins, judicious alcohol levels and bright acidity, lifted by attractive herbaceous hints, sometimes eucalyptus. Wines like Cullen and Vasse Felix from Margaret River, are considered good dry red wines with distinctive earthen flavours; while Coonawarra, the other leading Australian Cabernet region, gives dry red wines with a more savoury and full-bodied edge.
Tasting Notes: Blackberry, Black Cherry, Fig Paste, Baking Spices, Green Peppercorn.
On the country’s valley floors, where conditions are warmer and drier, Cabernet has a riper style with softer tannins, similar to Napa Valley Cabernet. In areas where cooling influences from the Pacific Ocean or high-elevation plantings prevail, more structured wines abound, with higher tannin content and fresher black fruit character.
At lower price ranges, Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon is simple and fruity, designed to be consumed young. For more premium offerings, winemakers utilize oak and lower vineyard yields to increase complexity and age-worthiness. While there is plenty of wine exported from the vast Central Valley in Chile, some of the best Cabernet comes from the Aconcagua, Maipo, Cachapoal and Colchagua Valleys.The location of Maipo Valley between the cooling Pacific Ocean breezes and hot, inland Andes Mountains produces one of the most ideal Mediterranean climates for Cabernet Sauvignon.
Tasting Notes: Crème de cassis, Black cherries, Boysenberry, Chocolate, Tobacco, Truffle
In Italy, Cabernet Sauvignon plantings are concentrated in the North-East – in the provinces of Bolzano and Trento, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Emilia-Romagna – which accounts for 73% of Italy’s entire plantings. This region consists of flood plains and small hills feature in this region, hence the vines are grown at low elevations. The climate is characterized by medium-high rainfall with a succession of well-cadenced seasons, alternating hot summers and cold winters. The wines display intense flowery and fruity fragrances, and only limited vegetal notes. Sometimes, particularly in recent vintages, they show high alcoholic strength and low fixed acidity, partly due to climate change.
In Italy Cabernet Sauvignon is known for its astounding ability to be mixed with other local varieties. Restrictive regulations prohibited the amount of foreign grape varieties in Italian wines. This caused some consternation among the country’s wine producers, who favored the way native vineyards tasted when mixed with complementing foreign grapes. The result was the creation of ‘Super Tuscan’ wine, which featured Cabernet Sauvignon mixed other varieties of Italian grapes. This resulted in many Italian wines including Cabernet Sauvignon as a means of improving their existing flavor profile.
The diversity of landscapes here – from rainy islands to desert-like valley floors – means that a wide variety of grapes are planted in British Columbia, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
There are a select few regions where the microclimate is favorable for premium viticulture. The British Columbia wine authority recognizes five Designated Viticultural Areas (DVAs) in the province: from the maritime-influenced climates of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, to Fraser Valley just west of Vancouver and the more continental areas of the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys.
Most viticulture in British Columbia takes place in the Okanagan Valley, nestled between the Cascade and Columbia mountain ranges where harsh weather systems from the west and north do not often reach. This long, narrow valley is considered to be Canada's only desert, and the Bordeaux varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon do well here, particularly in the south around Osoyoos. The region's few lakes serve to moderate temperatures here, and warm days followed by cool nights give rise to a distinctively bright style of wine.
Harvesting and Crushing:
Cabernet Sauvignon is a very popular red wine variety which grows in warm and sunny climates with a good drainage system. Due to the fact that it can grow in a wide spectrum of conditions and terroir, it is grown in almost every wine producing country in the world. Typically, cabernet sauvignon is grown on a gravel-type soil in a cool climate, to give it the herbaceous notes like that of bell pepper. This grape variety ripens in late September, and the late harvest allows the winemakers to prevent a powdery mildew on the grapes. Low yields are harvested to ensure high quality of the vine when it is crushed. The grapes are then placed on a conveyor belt which sends them to a crusher, or manually crushed using feet to extract the juice.
After the must is formed from the juice of crushed grapes, it is transferred into temperature controlled tanks to initiate the fermentation process. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the yeast used by winemakers to convert the glucose in the must into ethanol. Cabernet Sauvignon tends to bring out more of its fruity flavours when fermented in a cold atmosphere, whereas, the wine is more extracted and concentrated when it is fermented under a warm atmosphere. We will discuss the science behind the fermentation process in the next section.
Wine varieties are blended with juices from other varieties to give it the particular taste of a vineyard, and add structure and body to the finished product. For example, the famous "Bordeaux blend" of Cabernet Sauvignon has some quantities of Bordeaux's Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and sometimes Malbec added to give it the signature taste. While a particular grape variety give certain flavour notes to the wine, blending is done by vineyards to give their glass of wine a variety of flavour notes to distinguish it from the other winemakers' varieties.
After achieving about a 40g/l sugar from fermentation (depending on the winemaker), the must is moved to a tank where the skins and seeds are separated and then removed. The free run wine is filled in barrels, usually baked in the case of Cabernet Sauvignon, for premium wines. On the other hand, the cheaper brands tend to age them in tanks to reduce costs. The repeated racking completes the fermentation to dry the wine, and eventually clarify the juice. Ageing depends largely on the quality of the finished wine desired as it develops a lot of complex characters like flavours and colour during the process. Vintage designated wines of Cabernet Sauvignon usually reach their peak characters after 12-20 years of ageing.
The clarification process, also known as finning, is similar to that used in white wines. However, the red wines are finned less than white wines because the clay, Bentonite, takes away some of the red colour from it. To overcome the discolouration, raw eggs whites are also used to reduce the tannin levels. The wine is then filtered gently to remove the sediments and achieve stabilization.
The finished wine is bottled at a maintained humidity and at a temperature of between 45-65 degree fahrenheit. The bottling conditions should be neither too damp or too dry, and the wine should not be exposed to direct sunlight during the process. The bottled wine should be cellared under a constant humidity of between 50-80% to preserve the wine and prevent it from early oxidation. The difference in temperature of the bottle and the wine can lead to bottle shocks which might dissipate certain aroma compounds. Once the bottling is complete, the label is added to the bottle and we will discuss the legal requirements for labelling and packaging in a later section below.
Fermentation of wine
The fermentation process can be broken down into a primary and secondary fermentation facilitated by different microorganisms. The primary fermentation also known as alcohol fermentation, produces most of the alcohol found in wine, which is made by Saccharomyces cerevisiae (wine yeast). This process is usually done in large vats which are climate controlled to reduce oxygen levels that may encourage spoilage microorganisms. In the vats, S. cerevisiae will gather at the top of the must and has to be frequently mixed back into the solution. The mixing action also aids in maintaining a uniform temperature (between 25 to 32ºC depending on the winemaker), encouraging the growth of S. cerevisiae which grows optimally at higher temperatures.  S. cerevisiae's high temperature tolerance and willingness to grow makes it a choice candidate for alcohol fermentation which produces heat. The primary fermentation takes 3 to 5 days to complete.
The secondary fermentation is done to most red wines, but rarely white wines. It is a spontaneous process which is known as malolactic fermentation, performed by lactic acid bacteria to produce the round flavour and texture of wine and helps to make it less acidic after the primary fermentation. The secondary fermentation happens when the wine is removed from the fermentation tanks and let to sit in barrels or large tanks to age, this process takes about 2 weeks to complete, using up the remaining fermentable sugars.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the yeast used to convert grape sugars (glucose) into alcohol and CO2. Although S. cerevisiae is found naturally in grape skins, its quantity is not enough for the desired fermentation process. Winemakers will add S. cerevisiae as a starter culture, ensuring the correct fermentation is taking place and minimising spoilage.
S. cerevisiae is a facultative anaerobe, requiring glucose, water, ammonium salts, inorganic ions. According to Walker & Stewart (2016), it requires a warm temperature, between 20-30ºC and a pH of 4.5-6.5. The primary metabolites (products) of fermentation by S. cerevisiae is ethanol and CO2. The chemical reaction that occurs is glycolysis and NAD+ regeneration.
Secondary metabolites such as Isoamyl alcohol, Ethyl acetate, acetic acid and glycerol, to name a few are also produced but in very small quantities relative to the primary metabolites. These serve to make up the characteristics of a wine, its taste, smell and texture.
Other yeasts besides S. cerevisiae are found in wine, but were until recently deemed as having no or negative effects (spoilage). This perception came from the acidic and high ethanol environment which was thought to prevent any other yeast growth. The effects of non-Saccharomyces yeasts are coming to light, recent studies have found that they engage in significant fermentation and affects flavour.
Another additive to the first fermentation is sulphur dioxide (SO2), which inhibits spoilage yeasts and bacteria. It is naturally found in grape skins, but in trace amounts.
Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) is an order of bacteria that are low pH and SO2 tolerant, including Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, but the most commonly found in winemaking is Oenococcus oeni (formerly classified as Leuconostoc oenos), the most alcohol tolerant of the LAB. The formation of LAB is spontaneous as few other microorganisms are able to propagate, but some winemakers may choose to add a starter. LAB converts the sour tasting malic acid into the buttery lactic acid. Energy in the form of residual sugars is used up in the process and the products cause an increase in the pH level, making the wine less acidic.
The fermentation process in wine is closely managed to create the flavours desired by the winemaker. If not managed, spoilage bacteria may grow. Despite this, a new attitude towards wine fermentation has recently started becoming popular. Wild fermentation or natural wine, aims to minimise all the artificial processing and additives in wine, allowing natural yeasts and bacteria to ferment, creating different flavours. Currently there is no legal definition for natural wines.
Sensory properties/Wine Characteristics
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most popular wines that is consumed and enjoyed worldwide. Consumers choose this specific kind of wine based on the sensory properties such as taste, aroma, appearance, and texture that we are able to experience upon drinking. The sensory properties of wine is heavily affected by the chemical composition and its concentration of grapes used. 
Taste and aroma makes up the flavour of food we consume. To experience a taste sensation, a substance must be water-soluble and received by on the tongue. Cabernet Sauvignon is known for its mouthfeel, full bodied flavour. Therefore, it is commonly paired with meals with strong flavour such as meat and cheese. It is dry and acidic with fruit note of black cherries and black currants, vegetal note of bell pepper (if grapes were insufficiently ripe), and spice note of vanilla from oak aging. The full bodied, rich taste profile comes from the high concentration of tannins, which is an organic substances that adds astringency, the "physical" sensation described as puckering in the mouth.
To elicit the smell which is a complex mixture of chemicals, substances must be fat soluble and volatile, and received by the aroma receptors in the olfactory region of our nasal passages. Primary aroma comes from the specific type of grape which is Cabernet Sauvignon, secondary aroma is from the fermentation process, as well as the aging in oak barrels, and tertiary aroma depends on the maturation of the wine. As mentioned in Taste, Cabernet Sauvignon has a fruit note of black cherries and black currants, vegetal note of bell pepper, and spice note of anise, peppercorn, vanilla from oak aging, tobacco, etc. However, this varies depending on the region (climate and soil) and year of the grapes harvested.
Our perception of the food appearance is governed by a number of factors such as size, shape, colour, gloss, consistency, and presence of defects. Colour is the most noticeable factor in wine and it differs depending on the skin of gapes. Cabernet Sauvignon is a ruby red and between translucent and opaque. This redness comes from a chemical substance called anthocyanidins and anthocyanins (anthocyanidin complexed with glucose or other sugars). The anthocyanins are particularly sensitive to changes in pH, therefore, the colour of each wine type is different.
Textural parameters are often used in food selection and in food quality measurement. Textures in wine adds dimension and complexity. The Cabernet Sauvignon has a heavy and velvety texture due to its high tannin content and high percentage of alcohol (13.5-15%). In addition, winemakers allow wines to remain on its yeast during aging to create rounded, smooth mouthfeel.
Red wines contain a large variety of antioxidants in its alcohol-free portion, including resveratrol, catechin, epicatechin, and proanthocyanidins. These polyphenols, especially resveratrol and proanthocyanidins fight inflammation and lower the risks of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, peripheral vascular diseases. Tannin and alcohol in red wines can be both beneficial and harmful to human health depending the amount of consumption. 
1) Resveratrol, trans‐3,5,4′‐trihydroxy‐trans‐stilbene, is a phytochemical produced by plants that is abundant in the skin of red grapes. It works as an anti‐inflammatory polyphenol that decreases oxidative stress. Reducing oxidative stress means that there are less reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated, which will then result in lower risks of ROS‐induced chronic inflammation such as atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancer. In terms of cardioprotection, it is reported that resveratrol increases blood flow, upregulate of endothelial nitric oxide synthase to increase blood flow, and decreases inflammation. Anticancer activity of resveratrol is mainly due to induction of apoptosis (cell suicide) via various pathways, as well as alteration of gene expressions, all leading to a decrease in tumour initiation, promotion, and progression. In addition, resveratrols have possible positive health effects for diabetes mellitus.1 It is demonstrated that resveratrol decreased serum glucose level, increased time to glucose peak, and decreased insulin resistance following a meal. Resveratrol has also been reported to benefit the metabolic syndrome, autoimmune disease, and Alzheimer disease.
2) Proanthocyanidins is only found in the seed of grapes. It is another anti-inflammatory compound contained in red wine that reduces oxidative damage in the body, thus, lowering the risks of cancer and heart disease. The function of this antioxidant includes free radical scavenging activity, chelation of transition metals, and inhibition of enzymes.
3) Tannin, also as known as tannic acid is a water-soluble polyphenols that are present in many plant foods including Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Many tannin molecules have also been shown to reduce the mutagenic activity of a number of mutagens because of its antioxidants activity, protecting cellular oxidative damage, including lipid peroxidaton. It is also known to reduce blood pressure and serum cholesterol. 
4) Alcohol is also as known as ethanol. Small intake of red wine is linked to more health benefits than other alcoholic beverages such as beer and sprit.  Moderate drinking can be beneficial both physically and mentally as it helps some people relax and have enjoyable moments which some scientists believe is the best treatment for cancer.
Cabernet Sauvignon in particular, it is reported that certain cancers are associated with the higher concentrations of tannins and alcohol compared to other kinds of wine. Also, alcohol itself has its own health disadvantages.
1) Tannin. Despite its beneficial health effects, it is reported that tannin rich food has low nutritional value and it is responsible for decreases in feed intake, growth rate, feed efficiency, net metabolizable energy, and protein digestibility in experimental animals. However, recent researches demonstrated that the major effect of tannins was not due to their inhibition on food consumption or digestion but rather the dropped efficiency in converting the absorbed nutrients to new body substances. Some debate that tannins might be carcinogenic due to reported cases of certain cancers, such as esophageal cancer. Although Cabernet Sauvignon is known for its higher tannin content, the tannin content in red wine is very low (0.1%) compared to other tannin containing foods like some nuts and tea leaves.
2) Alcohol content in Cabernet Sauvignon is quite high which ranges from 13.5 to over 15 %. Drinking more than the recommended amount may increase the risks of the following:
- Alcohol dependence: Drinking alcohol regularly may become out of control and lead to alcoholism.
- Liver cirrhosis: When more then 30 grams of alcohol (about 2–3 glasses of wine) are consumed each day, the risk of developing liver disease increases. End-stage liver disease, called cirrhosis, is life threatening.
- Increased risk of depression: Heavy drinkers are at a much higher risk of depression than moderate or non-drinkers.
- Weight gain: Red wine contains twice the amount of calories as beer and sugary soft drinks. Excessive consumption may therefore contribute to high calorie intake and make you gain weight.
- Increased risk of death and disease: Drinking a lot of wine, even only 1–3 days a week, may increase the risk of diabetes in men. High alcohol intake has also been linked with an increased risk of premature death.
Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines recommend:
- No more than 10 drinks a week for women, with no more than 2 drinks a day most days
- No more than 15 drinks a week for men, with no more than 3 drinks a day most days
- Not drinking on some days each week
The Government of Canada has set a list of simplified Canadian labeling requirements for wine.
For products that meet the Standard of Identity for wine as per the Food & Drug Regulations Division 2
- Vignette and/or product brand name must not be misleading or imply any irresponsible use of the product.
- Net Quantity The quantity mentioned should be present and easy to read. The minimum size of characters can vary with the surface area. The minimum size for a 750ml bottle of wine should be 3.2mm. Volumes under 1 liter should be mentioned in ml and volumes over 1L should be mentioned in liters.
- Alcohol Strength: [X.X% alc./vol.] is the bilingual format for alcohol declaration. The smallest number must have a minimum size of at least 1.6mm in height. Other formats such as “alc. X.X% vol.” are also accepted.
- Common Name :-The common name declaration should be bilingual. Names of varieties aren’t considered as common names. Adjectives are permitted (e.g. vin rouge/red wine). The minimum size of character 1.6mm
- Country of Origin A country of origin is required on the label and the minimum character size would 1.6mm.Note: Wines produced in Canada from imported varieties would not be considered Canadian.
- Single Field of vision The common name, Net quantity Vignette Country of Origin should be visible on either side of the bottle labels and must be in a single field of vision. These details should be all together.
- Allergen Declaration An allergen declaration is mandatory for wines. The most common allergens used in wines are sulfites. A Declaration of an allergenic fining agents such as isinglass, albumen, casein, is required if the wine consists of residues of the agents. The declaration must be in a box and must be black on white background. The minimum font height is 1.1mm.
- Any statements should not be misleading or imply irresponsible use of the wine.
- Dealer Name and Dealer Address The name and address of the manufacturer or Canadian importer should be mentioned. Information on the importer must be preceded with “Imported for/importé pour”. Character size must be 1.6mm in height. The country name should always be in French or English.
- GTIN Bar Code The GTIN bar code must appear on all consumer products. Min. 80% magnification is mandatory. Readable characters should be on the left(if vertical) and on the bottom(if horizontal).
- Organic Claims: The label of an organic product must bear the name of the certification body that has certified the product as organic under part 13 of the SFCR.
Potential Exam Question
What starter is commonly used in wine fermentation?
Answer: Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Reasoning: S. cerevisiae is the most important yeast in winemaking, which is also used in brewing and baking. It is the most temperature tolerant, thus it is able to survive and grow in the exothermic reaction that converts sugars to alcohols and CO2. Although wine can be made by allowing wild yeasts to colonise, we use S. cerevisiae to ensure an intended taste, alcohol content and importantly consistent safety of the final product.
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