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The study of trace metal uptake by vines and the associated transfer to wines with a view to developing an analytical protocol for the provenance establishment of wine
Previous research carried out internationally has indicated that the trace elements present in a wine sample have the potential to be a good indicator of the country and region of origin of that wine. This research is still very much at a preliminary stage and presently there is no published research on using this approach to establish the provenance of Australian wines. Therefore, the primary focus of the research is to develop a robust methodology for the multi-element analysis of wine samples, along with associated data interpretational protocols, that will enable the verification of the country and region of origin of Australian wines. In addition the movement and incorporation of trace elements from the soil into the vine and the grapes, and finally into the bottled wine is being investigated. A scientific understanding of these mechanisms will hopefully establish the robustness of the concept that there is an association between the trace elements in the wine and the environment in which it was grown, as the scientific principles underpinning the technique must be sound in order to enable the application of this technology in industry.
Internationally, Australian wines command a high premium because viticultural and winemaking practices within the country are of an exceptionally high standard and consequently the product has developed an international reputation for consistent quality. However, recent cases of fraudulent labelling of Australian wine, both within the country and internationally, have been confirmed, and with the Australian wine export market alone valued at approximately AU$3 billion per annum, this type of activity, if unchecked, threatens to cause significant problems to the industry directly and to Australia’s reputation as a quality wine producing nation. It is anticipated that the successful development of a robust scientific technique that enables the verification of the country and region of origin information on wine labels will greatly assist with the identification and prevention of fraudulent labelling of wine.