Connected at UNU-BIOLAC workshops in Montevideo, Uruguayan chemistry professor Francisco Carrau and scientist Massimo Delledonne of Italy recently collaborated on sequencing the Tannat grape, pressings of which, thanks partly to its many seeds, produces the largest concentration of tannins -- an anti-oxidant that combats the ageing of cells.
Wines made from the Tannat are known as the most healthy of red wines due to their high levels of procyanidins, said to be good for reducing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and encouraging healthy blood clotting.
Carrau said that a wine made with Tannat has twice the tannins of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Pinot Noir and sequencing the grape's genome will allow vintners to protect a valuable niche in the world's 300-billion-dollar-wine industry.
Now the same researchers are probing a secret of nature of potentially great commercial interest as well: how soil conditions, minerals, sun, temperature, climate, altitude and other environmental factors affect the expression of genes in grapes and the chemistry of wine's aromas and colour.
--ANI (Posted on 03-09-2013)