Red Cesanese wine grapes, picked at around 22-23 °Brix, were treated with gas ethylene (500 mg L-1) for 15, 24, and 36 h, or air at 20 °C and 95-100% relative humidity (R.H.), then analysed for titratable acidity, sugar content, pH, total phenols, total and specific anthocyanins, and volatile compounds. Ethylene treatments increased the polyphenol content from 412 to 505 and 488 mg L-1 (about +23 and +19%) for 15 and 24 h samples, respectively. Anthocyanins were increased by ethylene, mainly for 15 h treatment (about +17%). The 36 h ethylene treatment induced a loss anthocyanins (-14%), while phenols practically returned to the initial content. A high content of ethanol, acetic acid, and ethyl acetate were detected in 36 h ethylene-treated grapes, together with higher isoamyl acetate content, compared to air and other ethylene treatments. C6 compounds, markers of lipids peroxidation, were slightly higher in 36 h ethylene-treated samples than in control. Shorter ethylene treatments did not significantly modify the aroma profile compared to air treatment.