Home' Grower : September 2013 Contents The South Australian Grower -- September 2013 27
can now better control the
levels of minty or Eucalyptus
flavours in their wine thanks to
an almost six-year-long Australian
Wine Research Institute project.
AWRI senior scientist and the
project's lead researcher Dimitra
Capone said the team began
work in 2008, when the AWRI's
problem solving service was asked
to assess wines made using fruit
from rows at different distances to
The first step for the research
team was to develop a rapid
analytical method for identifying
the compound 1,8 cineole, oth-
erwise known as eucalyptol and
responsible for the flavour and
aroma characteristics most often
described as 'Eucalyptus', 'mint'
"At the same time, we started
a survey of commercial red and
white wines -- assessing 146 red
wines and 44 whites from all
around Australia," Dr Capone
The survey showed about 40 per
cent of the red wines contained
eucalyptol above the standard
sensory threshold of 1.1 micro-
grams per litre. For the 44 white
wines analysed, only very small
amounts -- below 0.8 μg/L -- were
"We subsequently found that the
low concentration of eucalyptol in
white wines examined was because
the compound accumulates in the
skins and is only extracted dur-
ing winemaking through time on
skins," she said.
Dr Capone said the research
team sourced the wine from all
across Australia, with the survey
unveiling that this Eucalyptus or
mint flavour was not confined to
any particular region.
"It occurs all over the world
wherever Eucalyptus trees are
planted, including California,
Spain, Portugal and South
America," she said.
"It can, however, be a little more
common in some regions more
than others, such as areas around
Clare Valley, Margaret River,
Langhorne Creek, Coonawarra,
Padthaway and central Victoria
where some vineyards can
be in quite close proximity to
By 2009 and 2010 the project
progressed from its initial stages.
Dr Capone and her team fol-
lowed red fermentations to assess
eucalyptol levels during skin
contact, and measured eucalyptol
levels in leaves, skin, stem and
pulp as a function of proximity to
They also conducted investiga-
tions regarding the transformation
of grape metabolites, the effect of
closures and time in bottle, and
consumer preference for minty or
Eucalyptus aromas in wine.
During this time, they confirmed
that the greatest primary source
of the 1,8 cineole compound
came from grapes with the closest
proximity to Eucalyptus trees.
The consumer preference
research also revealed that the
majority of consumers tested
preferred wines with the minty
In 2011, fermentation studies
were completed assessing the
effect of Eucalyptus leaves and
grape leaves and, more recently,
surveys of specific wine types were
"We found that absorption of the
compound by grape berries, while
important, is much less a factor
than the presence of Eucalyptus
leaves or bark in the grape bins
during harvest," she said.
"Even a small number of
Eucalyptus leaves in a harvest bin
can have a very large effect on
eucalyptol levels in wines."
"By adjusting their practices to
remove matter other than grapes
in rows closest to Eucalyptus
trees, either through careful hand-
harvesting, sorting, or adjustment
of mechanical harvesting -- a real
difference can be attained."
White wines less affected
Proximity plays major role
Leaves, stems also contribute
Wine's minty mysteries uncovered
Researchers have found that grapes growing in vineyard rows closest to
Eucalyptus trees contain the highest levels of eucalyptol, the compound
responsible for minty flavours in wine.
Even a small number of
Eucalyptus leaves in a harvest
bin can have a very large effect
on eucalyptol levels in wines.
By ELI GREENBLAT
TREASURY Wine Estates chief
executive David Dearie does not
believe the world's biggest pure-play
winemaker has become more
vulnerable to a takeover or a forced
break-up of its premium wine brands
despite its profit more than halving
Unveiling last month a 52.9 per cent
slide in full-year profit to $42.3 million,
Mr Dearie also said the company
remained committed to its United
States arm, which he said would
return to growth as it churned through
a protracted wine glut and poor sales.
Treasury Wine Estates said pre-tax
earnings for 2012-13 were $209.2m,
missing its own guidance of $216m
made just last month. It blamed the
gap on a $7 million unrealised loss on
foreign exchange options.
Growth in Asia was met by improved
growth in Australia, New Zealand,
Europe and the Middle East, but
this was not enough to counter dour
conditions in its sizeable American
business where, to the shock of
investors, Treasury Wine Estates
last month warned it would have to
destroy $34m of unwanted stock.
Mr Dearie said that after three
years in the top job he was yet to see
earnings growth across all regional
divisions within the same year.
That failure to fire on all cylinders
at once was on display for 2012-13.
The company recorded growth in three
of its four regions as, collectively,
Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia
and Australia/New Zealand pre-tax
earnings were up 17 per cent.
Asia, long promised as the growth
engine for the company, saw earnings
leap 32.3pc to $54.5m. In Australia/NZ,
earnings were up 1pc to $110.1m and
Africa -- still a small part of the wine
empire -- was up 180.7pc to $16m.
But the US continued to cast a pall
over the group, as a wine glut, weak
consumer confidence and changes to
supplier arrangements forced a pre-
tax expense of $154.7m, part of which
covered the cost of destroying up to
600,000 cases of poorer quality wine.
This led the Americas division to
report flat sales of $704m and a
15.4pc slide in earnings to $66.8m.
Treasury is forecasting pre-tax
earnings this financial year to grow
to between $230m and $250m. The
uplift would be helped by quality,
higher-priced wine created up to two
years ago that is finally ready for
sale in 2014 and 2015.
Dearie defends Treasury's profit slump
Treasury Wine Estates chief
executive David Dearie has
defended his company's
financial performance and
decision to continue to trade in
the United States.
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