Wine production is an historic industry that dates back thousands of years. Globally, approximately 300 million hectoliters are produced annually, with France, Italy and Spain leading producers. While Europe is historically the largest wine producing region, the United States, Australia, South Africa and countries in South Americal like Chile and Argentina are increasing production. The prices for bottled wine vary widely based on type, geography and quality.
Wine is generally made from the fermentation of grapes, though other fruits and plants may be used. Grapes are crushed to produce a juice or must (mixture of juice, pulp and grape skin) and yeast is added to start fermentation. The yeast converts the sugar in the juice to alcohol and carbon dioxide. For some wines, this is followed by a malo-lactic conversion which is accomplished with a bacterial culture. Depending on the wine, secondary fermentations, aging and many other processes are used to impart the specific characteristics desired for each type of wine. The wine is then bottled and sold, with approximately 40% of the wine produced exported from the originating country.
As described above, the production of wine is a series of natural processes performed on a grape harvest. There are many variables in this procedure, from the maturity and condition of the incoming grapes to the extent and rate of the natural biological processes involved. Grapes in the field can be tested for sugars and other parameters to ensure that they are harvested at the peak maturity. Sugars, acids and other parameters can be monitored at the crush as well as through the fermentation and malo-lactic conversions, providing instant feedback to the vitners and allowing for consistent production. Acids, sugar, minerals as well as free and total SO2 can be measured up to bottling, providing an instant view of the wine progression and making sure regulatory requirements are met. Some of the important parameters include:
- Acetic Acid, Malic Acid, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Gluconic Acid, Pyruvic Acid
- Glucose + Fructose, Sucrose, Glycerol, Glycerin
- Free SO2, Total SO2
- NOPA, Ammonia, Polyphenols, Catechins
- Potassium, Copper, Magnesium
Many wineries have relied on traditional wet chemistry techniques or commercial labs to obtain analytical data. These methods can require multiple instruments, trained personnel and hours of work. Sending samples to commercial labs can mean results 2 - 4 days later. Unity Scientific wine solutions can analyze samples from all stages of wine production from vineyard to bottle automatically in a matter of minutes. Automated workflows and included methods make the wine solutions ready to use for any wine producer. Accurate and timely chemical analysis allows for consistent production of high quality wines and increases profits.