Chemical analysis of grape juice and wine has been performed for over 50 years in a targeted manner to determine a limited number of compounds using Gas Chromatography, Mass-Spectrometry (GC-MS) and High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). Therefore, it only allowed the determination of metabolites that are present in high concentration, including major sugars, amino acids and some important carboxylic acids. Thus, the roles of many significant but less concentrated metabolites during wine making process are still not known. This is where metabolomics shows its enormous potential, mainly because of its capability in analyzing over 1000 metabolites in a single run due to the recent advancements of high resolution and sensitive analytical instruments. Metabolomics has predominantly been adopted by many wine scientists as a hypothesis-generating tool in an unbiased and non-targeted way to address various issues, including characterization of geographical origin (terroir
) and wine yeast metabolic traits, determination of biomarkers for aroma compounds, and the monitoring of growth developments of grape vines and grapes. The aim of this review is to explore the published literature that made use of both targeted and untargeted metabolomics to study grapes and wines and also the fermentation process. In addition, insights are also provided into many other possible avenues where metabolomics shows tremendous potential as a question-driven approach in grape and wine research.
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