Researching for a nice bottle of wine to take to a party, I did what many of us do and performed an internet search. High on the results and distracting me from my task was the following story: World’s most expensive wine goes on sale (link to story) on a bottle of wine selling for an eye-watering £122,300 (USD $195,000). I then wondered, ever the analytical chemist, how do they know it’s the real thing and could these buyers benefit from an isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS) of the bottles of wine in their cellar!
I was hooked now, and as some of the reasons given for the huge sums invested in such wines include rarity, famous owner, vintage and very importantly, region and vineyard, could my casual remark about IRMS and the benefits it has for authenticity testing play a part?
Testing for Authenticity and Geographic Origin of Wine
It’s been a fascinating subject to research, and I will leave you with this unbelievable but true story. In 1989, a bottle of 1787 Château Margaux, from Thomas Jefferson's collection, was valued at over $500,000 by its owner, a New York wine merchant called William Sokolin. At a dinner, it was accidentally knocked over and broke; the insurers paid out $225,000 for the loss of the wine.
And, in case you still remember on how I got started on this topic, I went to the party with a cheap bottle I picked up from my local supermarket!
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Is wine analysis methods or isotope ratio analysis of interest to your laboratory? If so I would like to hear your thoughts and experiences