Individual differences in thresholds and consumer preferences for rotundone added to red wine

Jessica M. Gaby, Alyssa J. Bakke, Allison N. Baker, Helene Hopfer, John E. Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Rotundone is an aromatic compound found in the skin of some grapes (e.g., Shiraz, Noiret) that contributes peppery notes to wines made with these varieties. There may be a specific anosmia for rotundone, as some individuals are unable to detect it even at high concentrations, despite otherwise normal olfaction. This may affect perception of and preference for rotundone-containing wines. Here, we report rotundone detection thresholds (orthonasal n = 56; retronasal n = 53) and rejection thresholds (n = 86) in red wine for a convenience sample of non-expert consumers in Pennsylvania. Focus groups were conducted to better understand consumer attitudes and preferences for rotundone. Ortho-and retronasal detection thresholds were nearly identical (140 v. 146 ng/L). Roughly 40% of our sample was anosmic to rotundone, extending evidence for a specific anosmia to a North American cohort. As ortho-and retronasal thresholds were extremely similar, future work on rotundone can rely on orthonasal assessment. In our participants, added rotundone was generally disliked, and in focus groups, the concept of a ‘peppery’ wine was not appealing. Winemakers need to carefully consider biological and attitudinal segmentation when making and marketing peppery wines. Further work is needed to identify the genetic basis for this anosmia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2522
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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