From Blood to Wine – Innovation in technology aimed to assist winemakers – Decanter

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The three students from the Institut d’Optique Graduate School, part of the Université Paris-Saclay in France, have created a unique, portable device, adapted from existing blood analysis technology invented by biotech start-up Archimej Technology, which allows for the real-time control of wine quality. So how did they go from blood to wine? Mr Valecha said it started on the innovation and entrepreneurship programme he and his colleagues took during the first year of their master’s. Students had to propose ideas to students to adapt the companies’ technology. ‘What we thought was alcohol. It started with spirits. Our friends were in China on an internship and they saw the problem of counterfeit spirits. We started [with the idea] of creating a device that could detect fake bottles of spirits by analysing the product itself.’ ‘As I’m from Bordeaux…we changed our business. We went to different wineries and they told us that they sent wine, every month to a lab for analysis, so why not work on analysing wine? I think detecting fake bottles wine will be a great product in years to come as, in Russia, [a high percentage] of wine bottles sold are fake. The problem of counterfeit [wine] in China is big.’ Archimej’s monitor analyses blood by performing a full panel of blood tests, looking at 10 to 20 biomarkers – including cardiac and liver – in a sample. The wine monitor uses this principle to assess the wine quality during production. ‘What a winemaker does is take some samples from different stages of the production and sends them to labs to test the alcohol degree, sugar quantity, acid levels. We want to test these parameters at the winery,” Mr Valecha explained. He said winemakers were interested in the product even at this early stage, when they are monitoring only one or two parameters – sugar levels and one of the acids. In the future, they hoped to analyse all the acids, pH, sugar, and sulphur levels. Sulfites in wine: Friend or foe? A winemaker’s perspective When asked to review the monitor, winemaker at Enotria & Coe, Freddie Cobb said: ‘As we all know, wine is a living product that is constantly evolving, whether it be in the vineyard, during fermentation or ageing in tank, barrel and bottle. So there is always a desire by all winemakers to have an instant snapshot of how these wines are evolving and help them to make decisions in to optimise the organoleptic profile and limit the risk of spoilage’. ‘At the minute it has its limitations in analysing just one or two parameters, which can be easily and cheaply analysed in house. Nonetheless this could become a very useful piece of piece of equipment to have if the technology is developed to analyse more parameters in the future.’ Cost of Analysis According to Mr Valecha, winemakers currently spend around €2,500 every year for lab analysis, a costly and time-consuming but vital expense, given that whole barrels of wine can be lost if …Continue reading »

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