Grape 'x-ray' technology unlocks wine analysis

By Chris Mercer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Wine

Portable, idiot-friendly wine analysis equipment was all the rage
at this year's Sitevi wine production expo, with one machine using
rays to assess the quality of grapes standing out.

Everywhere at Sitevi 2005 there were huddles of people earnestly discussing the fraught competition now besetting the world wine market.

No surprise then that one of the biggest trends at this year's show, aside from marketing initiatives, was new technology to give firms an edge in targeting wines at specific consumer groups.

One award-winning and novel piece of kit was the Dyosystem, developed by French firm Sferis in partnership with agricultural research labs in Montpellier.

The machine, which looks like some sort of teleporting device, uses a process similar to that used by x-ray machines to probe the content and make-up of grapes.

It then takes seconds to send detailed information on colour, acidity, sugar content and maturity to an adjacent computer screen, where the user can see the results on a range of handy graphs.

Olivier Zebic, Sferis' director of engineering, described the Dyosystem as "revolutionary"​.

"It will help winemakers to give consumers what they want. For example, consumers want certain aromas and one of the best ways to get this is by following the colour.

"A lot of people have said they are interested and it is not very expensive, especially considering the advantages of having it."​ He said one Dyosystem cost about €13,000.

The question is also how many wineries in 'Old World' France will be open enough to new technology to take advantage.

"Some countries are more open to innovation than others, such as Chile, Argentina, Australia of course and South Africa. France and Italy need to catch up,"​ said Zebic.

"But, you can't just draw a line between the New and the Old World. Spain, for example, has become really open to new technology, which is good for us because we are close."

Sferis could be well-placed whatever, having already worked with researchers all over the wine world. And Zebic said the company was aiming to launch more cutting edge analysis equipment next year.

Other award-winning wine analysis equipment at Sitevi included several grape 'must' testers, such as one from the Sodimel group that used infra-red scanning.

Another interesting innovation was a machine from Vaslin Bucher capable of reducing the sugar concentration of grapes, enabling firms to reduce a wine's alcohol content by one-to-three degrees.

The Michael Paetzold group, based near Bordeaux, also unveiled new technology able to reduce wine alcohol content by around two degrees.

Related topics R&D Beer & cider

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