Characterising wine terroir

With improved refining techniques and ever-growing popularity among hobbyists, wine has become the target of multiple frauds worldwide.

Within the last 30 years, the analysis of stable and radiogenic isotopes have demonstrated their added value as a forensic tool in the fight against fraud in the food industry. Several isotope analyses are now official or being regarded as standard methods in Europe and North America for testing the origin and authenticity of food products. These methods are based on the analysis of stable isotope compositions (δ2H, δ13C, δ18O, δ15N) and/or radiogenic isotope ratios (e.g. 87Sr/86Sr) of a final product or of one of its compounds, such as an ingredient or a specific molecule. The isotope characterisation, carried out using Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) and Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (TIMS), provide information on the botanical and geographical origins of the initial materials, which are often considered important characteristics for many food products by either the consumer or by national and international regulations.

In collaboration with the AVQ (Association des Vignerons du Québec) and within the frame of potential implementation of a controlled designation of origin for the Quebec terroir, this line of research aims at accurately characterizing the origin of local wines from Quebec.

The methodology we are developing in our research group is based on a multi-isotope approach: 87Sr/86Sr & 88Sr/86Sr and 84Sr/86Sr.

 

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