The ability of the grapevine to activate defense mechanisms against some pathogens has been shown to be linked to the synthesis of resveratrol and other stilbenes by the plant (inducible viniferins). Metabolized viniferins may also be produced or modified by extracellular enzymes released by the pathogen in an attempt to eliminate undesirable toxic compounds. Because of the important properties of resveratrol, there is increasing interest in producing wines with higher contents of this compound and a higher nutritional value. Many biotic and abiotic elicitors can trigger the resveratrol synthesis in the berries, and some examples are reported. Under the same elicitation pressure, viticultural and enological factors can substantially affect the resveratrol concentration in the wine. The production of high resveratrol-containing grapes and wines relies on quality-oriented viticulture (suitable terroirs and sustainable cultural practices) and winemaking technologies that avoid degradation of the compound. In general, the oenological practices commonly used to stabilize wine after fermentation do not affect resveratrol concentration, which shows considerable stability. Finally the paper reports on two sirtuin genes (SIRT
) expressed in grapevine leaves and berries and the role of resveratrol on the deacetylation activity of the encoded enzymes.
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