Sulfur compounds play an important role in the sensory characteristics of wine. These molecules can derive from the grape, in which the non-volatile forms are usually present as glycosylated molecules, the metabolic activities of yeast and bacteria, the chemical reactions taking place during the wine aging and storage, and the environment. The sulfur compounds include molecules positively correlated to the aromatic profile of wine, namely the volatile thiols, and are responsible for certain defects, imparting notes described as cabbage, onion, rotten egg, garlic, sulfur and rubber. Due to the low concentration of these molecules in wine, their high reactivity and the matrix complexity, the analytical methods which enable their detection and quantification represent a challenge. The solid phase microextraction (SPME) technique has been developed for sulfur compounds associated with off-flavors. The analysis of volatile thiols usually requires a derivatization followed by gas chromatography (GC)-MS or UPLC-MS methods. Besides the sulfur-containing aromas, another sulfur compound that deserves mention is the reduced glutathione (GSH) which has been widely studied due to its antioxidant properties. The analysis of GSH has been proposed using a liquid chromatography technique (HPLC or UPLC) coupled with fluorescence, MS and UV detectors.
Part of the book: Grapes and Wines