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Testing the Sensitivity of Potential Panelists for Wine Taint Compounds Using a Simplified Sensory Strategy

Department of Viticulture and Oenology, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa
Institute for Grape and Wine Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Foods 2018, 7(11), 176;
Received: 18 September 2018 / Revised: 12 October 2018 / Accepted: 23 October 2018 / Published: 24 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wine Composition and Quality Analysis)
PDF [1302 KB, uploaded 24 October 2018]


The odor detection threshold (ODT) of a compound is the lowest concentration at which individuals can reliably perceive a difference between a sample and its corresponding control, with 50% performance above chance. Wine is a complex matrix, and ODTs used in studies on wine can be based on inappropriate matrices and informal sensory methodologies. Formal studies confirming ODTs in wine are relatively scarce in the literature, and are complex and expensive to carry out. In this study, the sensitivity of panelists to previously published ODTs for five compounds: Guaiacol, o-cresol and 4-ethyl phenol, 3-isobutyl-2-methoxypyrazine (IBMP), and 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA) associated with off-flavor/taint issues in wine, was investigated. The study was carried out in partially de-aromatized young Shiraz wine (unwooded) using a simplified version of the formal sensory approach. A triangle test in triplicate was carried out with 34 panelists, at the ODT for each compound, in one day. The study explored whether previous training affected panelists’ sensitivity for threshold differences. Results showed that samples spiked with volatile phenols were significantly different (p = 0.01) to controls. The spiked TCA and IBMP samples were not significantly different from the control in either case. Judges were better able to detect compounds if they had prior experience or training in wine evaluation. Despite some limitations, this pragmatic approach may be useful when carrying out sensory studies with fairly limited resources and within tight timelines, as it provides helpful information on panel members and detection thresholds for a specific matrix. View Full-Text
Keywords: odor detection threshold; wine; volatile phenol; 3-isobutyl-2-methoxypyrazine; 2,4,6-trichloroanisole odor detection threshold; wine; volatile phenol; 3-isobutyl-2-methoxypyrazine; 2,4,6-trichloroanisole

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McKay, M.; Bauer, F.F.; Panzeri, V.; Buica, A. Testing the Sensitivity of Potential Panelists for Wine Taint Compounds Using a Simplified Sensory Strategy. Foods 2018, 7, 176.

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