Sector News

Wine fraud in Spain could be ancient history with nuclear magnetic resonance tech

April 16, 2022
Consumer Packaged Goods

Estación Enológica de Haro (EEH), a public and governmental laboratory in Spain’s major wine-growing La Rioja region, has introduced Bruker Biospin’s nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy analysis to identify origin, variety and wine authenticity throughout the supply chain.

The service can be used by public and private organizations in the oenological sector to satisfy consumer demand for authenticity and transparency of origin.

Spain’s wine export market is valued at €2.63 billion (US$2.85 billion). As a premium product, it is vulnerable to many types of economically motivated fraud (EMF). The new NMR analysis service helps growers and importers to protect their brand reputation, safeguard consumer trust and maintain product value.

“The versatility of NMR techniques and equipment has allowed us to adapt this method specifically to the needs of grape growers, wine producers, packers, distributors and exporters. This may be for self-monitoring, fraud control or improving the wine‐making process,” says Victor García Pidal, director-general, Bruker Española.

Detailed analysis of premium wines
EEH provides a full NMR wine certification including appellations and country of origin and grape variety, a quantitative wine report by NMR including 52 quality parameters and confirmation of identity including a benchmark comparison.

The NMR analyses with chemometrics are available for white wines from the Spanish regions of Rioja, Rais Baixas, Rueda and Valencia; red wines from the regions of Rioja, Navarra, Ribera de Duero, Ribera de Guadiana and Valencia; and rosé wines from Rioja, as well as relevant Spanish varieties such as Tempranillo, Garnacha Tinta, Monastrell, Verdejo, Viura and Albariño.

NMR is a “highly reproducible” analytical technique that helps complete the chain of authenticity in high-end wine supply chains by providing a “fingerprint” of a sample. Each fingerprint contains parameters that facilitate the creation of databases and provide a reference for all molecular constituents.

Since many relevant parameters can be analyzed in a single run, the cost per sample is low compared to conventional analyses, where multiple analytical techniques are needed. The analysis helps wine producers, importers and distributors detect and prevent the most common types of wine fraud by verifying the wine’s identity.

Reigning in fraudulent activity
The fully automated system uses an intuitive software interface and analytical reports, which requires no prior NMR knowledge on the user’s part.

Bruker Biospin is working with EEH to further grow the database of wines, running samples from Spain and France, Italy and Hungary to create baselines along Europe, preventing economic and quality fraud.

EEH has used Bruker’s Wine-Profiling module on the NMR FoodScreener platform to analyze wine samples since 2015. The specialist lab evaluates 25,000 samples and conducts around 263,000 analyses every year using different methods and techniques, including NMR.

Bruker provides differentiated life science and diagnostics systems and solutions in preclinical imaging, clinical phenomics research, proteomics and multi-omics, spatial and single-cell biology, functional, structural and condensate biology, as well as clinical microbiology and molecular diagnostics.

Edited by Inga de Jong


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