More than a thousand genes that affect ripening of the Pinot Noir grape variety have been identified by Italian researchers.
Characteristics of a “core set” of around 1,400 genes found in Pinot Noir grapes were dependent on atmospheric conditions, such as light and heat changes, scientists at Italy’s IASMA research centre said.
Their work is published alongside a similar study from the US on Cabernet Sauvignon, in the online open access journal, BMC Genomics.
Lead Italian researcher Stefania Pilati said the large number of regulatory genes discovered would be a “powerful new resource” in understanding the ripening process.
Several studies around the world have sought to unlock genetic secrets of vine ripening, as winemakers look to raise quality by better predicting the characteristics of their wines.
Changes to the genes in Pinot Noir “tally with the processes of berry softening and accumulation of sugar, colour and aroma compounds, which ultimately determine berry and wine quality”, the Italian research team said.