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It is well known that the quality of wine has generally improved owing to the introduction of modern techniques. The scientific basis for this development has been laid by oenologists. It is less well known, however, that chemometrics can provide complimentary expertise.

The paper cited below is the result of a collaboration between analytical chemists working in the field of oenology and chemometricians from the university of Tarragona. It describes a method (see picture) that holds promise for the early-stage detection of the major contributing component to cork taint, an off-flavor that continues to cause huge financial losses.

HS-MS small.jpg Headspace-mass spectrometry system with multivariate calibration.

  • M.P. Martí, R. Boqué, M. Riu, O. Busto and J. Guasch
    Fast screening method for determining 2,4,6-trichloroanisole in wines using a headspace-mass spectrometry (HS-MS) system and multivariate calibration
    Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 376 (2003) 497-501

The uncertainty in the multivariate calibration results has been estimated using the approach described under Reliability of multivariate calibration. The authors suggest that the proposed HS-MS technique has great potential for controlling the quality of wines and other alcoholic beverages.