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  
April 2015 $627 million
5%
$8,028 million
5%
April 2014 $595 million $7,623 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
April 2015 $184 million
17%
$1,890 million
15%
April 2014 $157 million $1,649 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
April 2015 406
34%
252
19%
April 2014 302 212
     
 
MORE » Released on 05.15.2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2015
 
Download full report »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • May 26
     
    Mendocino Economic Summit
     
  • May 28-29
     
    Direct2015
     
  • May 28-30
     
    WIneMaker Annual Conference
     
  • May 28-30
     
    International Chardonnay Symposium
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: $10 Wine Would Cost $40-plus Under COOL »
 
As a Napa Valley producer, we have spent 30 years building our brands in the...
Reader: Pete Przybylinski
 
Article: Be a Sustainable Wine Ambassador »
 
A great idea. All TR employees at every responsible estate should be encouraged/required to become...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Historic Napa Winery Standing Tall Again »
 
It would be nice to know that Trost Jacking and Heavy Moving is the structural...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Women for WineSense offering scholarships »
 
This is fantastic! Women in Wine Education must find ways to continue their individual pursuit...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Historic Napa Winery Standing Tall Again »
 
Very Interesting, I'm so glad the building is successfully being saved.
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
 Epicure By Jcb Manager
 Yountville, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Retail Sales
 Sonoma, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Marketing & Social Med...
 Sonoma, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Market Manager
 Various, NA
Sales and Marketing
 Region Sales Manager-M...
 Minneapolis, MN
Sales and Marketing
 Chain Account Speciali...
 Seattle, WA
Sales and Marketing
 Area Sales Manager In ...
 Atlanta, GA
Sales and Marketing
 Sales Representative
 Manhattan, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Area Sales Manager-S.N...
 Cherry Hill, NJ
Sales and Marketing
 Director, Hospitality ...
 Napa, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





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

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2015 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.