Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
10.08.2013  
 

Washington State Wines Set Tongues Wagging

University lab uses electronic tongue device to analyze wine

 
by Peter Mitham
 
 
washington state university e-tongue
 
Washington State University doctoral student Charles Diako collates documentation from readings of the ASTREE Electronic Tongue.
Pullman, Wash.—When the wine starts talking, a new $90,000 device at Washington State University’s sensory evaluation lab in Pullman listens.

Acquired last year, the ASTREE Electronic Tongue developed by Alpha M.O.S. of Toulouse, France, gives WSU associate professor Dr. Carolyn Ross a new tool for assessing and analyzing the components of various food products.

Putting it to use
A current project is the analysis of 60 red wines from Washington state, and the correlation of results from the e-tongue with chemical analysis and the results of sensory analysis by trained tasters.

“We’re trying to see how well all of these chemical parameters, taken together, explained what our trained panelists observe in the wine,” she said. “The e-tongue will never replace people, but it certainly has use if you’re screening a lot of different wine samples. People get tired…and it’s hard to distinguish differences, especially if (the wines) are really astringent or they’re really high alcohol.”

The challenge is well-known, as underscored by the regular debates about the palates of wine judges (see “How Consistent Are Wine Judges?”).

One of the first challenges, however, was to determine what kind of information the instrument could provide and how to correlate this information with other ways of understanding wine.

Taste the rainbow
A broad selection of red wines was chosen to give the tongue the greatest latitude of tasting experience.

“We wanted differences among the wines. We were trying to find low-alcohol Merlots, high-alcohol Merlots, high-tannin/low-tannin ones that varied in the properties to see if the e-tongue could distinguish them,” Ross said. “We felt it would give a good indication of the way we could group the wines together.”

The result was the identification of six major groups arranged around characteristics such as tannins, alcohol content and metallic character.

While humans may be keen to perceive minerality, Ross said metallic notes are “part of the e-tongue profile.” (A previous experiment saw the e-tongue evaluate various sweeteners from sugar solutions to agave, Stevia and Aspartame, which is known for a metallic aftertaste.)

Since the device is in its infancy—one might say researchers have touched just the tip of the tongue’s capabilities—Ross hopes to expand the wine program to include white wines and sparkling wines so that a better understanding of the device’s use can be developed.

She also wants to see if the tongue can factor in and identify the differences that saliva type make to the sensory experience of wine.

Collecting data
WSU doctoral student Charles Diako has collated significant documentation regarding the e-tongue’s readings that will help researchers understand the tongue’s possibilities, but the challenge lies in putting that understanding to use.

“How can it be useful to the wine industry, to a large winery, to an academic institution?” Ross asked of the e-tongue.

Noting the significant investment the device requires, she says it’s not an investment many wineries will undertake lightly—nor did WSU.

However, the trials that WSU’s lab is undertaking are slowly sketching in details of the instrument’s capacity. As the old saying goes, life is too short to drink bad wine, and the tireless electronic tongue promises to help human testers focus their attention on wines that matter.

“We are the first group to use the e-tongue for the purpose of screening a large number of wine samples,” Ross told Wines & Vines. It could “help reduce the number of samples that needed to be evaluated by a sensory panel.”

SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
October 2014 $570 million
6%
$7,775 million
6%
October 2013 $539 million $7,342 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
October 2014 $284 million
18%
$1,751 million
13%
October 2013 $240 million $1,556 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
October 2014 139
6%
226
18%
October 2013 131 192
     
 
MORE » Released on 11.13.2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2014
 
Download full report »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • November 16-23
     
    San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival
     
  • November 19-23
     
    Flavor! Napa Valley
     
  • November 20-21
     
    San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers annual meeting
     
  • November 20-22
     
    Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Kluge Saga Continues in Virginia »
 
Not everybody likes Pat Kluge, but she and Moses built a first class winery /...
Reader: Josh Moser
 
Article: Canada Adapts to Kegged Wines »
 
I am a wine agent in Manitoba & there certainly are kegs of cider here....
Reader: Guest
 
Article: What's Your Winery's IP Worth? »
 
If you would like more information on this seminar please visit The Seminar Group's website....
Reader: Danielle Bingham
 
Article: DtC Is Lifeblood of Wineries, Banker Says »
 
Seems like another locical option would be to have more small niche distrbutors. Consolidation of...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Tasting Wine From PD-Resistant Grapes »
 
Congratulations Andy! Lots of grapebreeders and southern growers will be looking through the catalogs. i...
Reader: Guest
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Racker & Blender
 Madera, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Chain Sales Account Ex...
 Los Angeles, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Winery/Cellar Supervis...
 Ceres, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Assistant Winemaker
 Ceres, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Senior Chemist
 Ceres, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Store Manager Wanted!
 Southern, NJ
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Office Coordinator
 Nyc, NY
General Administration and
 Retail General Manager
 Hillsborough, NJ
General Administration and
 Wine Sales Rep
 Various, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Facilities/Maintenance...
 Paso Robles, CA
Winemaking and Production
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2014 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.