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The Vitis Aroma project

Brief description: Cyprus is one of the very few phyloxera-free areas of the world that cultivates vines in their own roots. Almost ¾ of the total cultivated area uses indigenous cultivars, mainly 'Mavro' and 'Xynisteri' cultivars. The latter is considered as a reference cultivar, used for the production of white wines (light-yellow in colour, balanced, with moderate alcohol and a delicate floral taste), as well as for the production of ‘Commandaria’, a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) premium dessert wine. Notably, ‘Xynisteri’ is suitable for extreme weather conditions such as drought and hot climate, thus rendering it is an ideal cultivar for marginal soils and adverse climatic conditions. ‘Xynisteri’ is characterized as a very vigorous cultivar, well-adapted in non-irrigated soils and at high altitudes. Under such conditions, wines with distinct aromatic character can be produced, including additionally the potential of aging. Although ‘Xynisteri’ cultivation is of immense significance for the local economy and many wineries cultivate it, it is poorly characterized. Vasiliko Oinopoieio Kyperoundas is a leading company in the field of viticulture and oenology, located in the mountainous area of Cyprus (1200 m) and ‘Xynisteri’ accounts for 50% of its total wine production. The aim of the current project is to valorize the potential of ‘Xynisteri’ under variable vineyard practices through the determination of quality attributes and oenological properties. Special attention will be devoted in the aromatic characterization of ‘Xynisteri’ grapes by means of sensory evaluation and volatile analysis through GC-MS and Electronic nose. At the level of basic research, RNA sequencing for determining expression profiles of genes involved in aroma biosynthetic pathways will be carried out.  Towards the implementation of the aforementioned goals, four Research Units from Academia with highly complementary expertise (vineyard management, determination of qualitative and sensorial attributes, gene expression analyses) will be involved. The expected results of the project will contribute towards the improvement of the quality of the ‘Xynisteri’ wine and release into the market of new added-value products.

Schematic presentation of the work packages structure

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