Wine Spectrophotometry

Wine, like many elite types of alcohol, isn’t judged specifically on the basis of taste. Wine enthusiasts begin evaluating the quality of wine from its color, before even sipping it. However, the flavor for most wines begins in the vineyard with the harvesting of certain grapes. The grapes used will set the tone for the type of wine and the specific processes used for pressing and fermentation will determine the final taste.

A laboratory for analysis is a basic essential in most wineries. Labs test and analyze wine for both taste and quality. Spectrophotometers can be used throughout this process to perform a more specific enzymatic analysis. UV spectrophotometry is favored because it is a non-destructive way to test liquids, such as wine, without disturbing it in any way. Although the spectrophotometric analysis is optional, it is important for many wineries to record the properties of their wines for their own purposes.

Some of the factors that are evaluated are the hue and color intensity of the wine. The CIE scale is a standard used internationally to relay values of color in relation to lightness in combination with values of red, green, blue, and yellow. Factors such as hue and intensity can provide information about the quality of the wine.

Phenols are chemical compounds found in alcohol that contribute to the body and structure of the wine. As the wine ages, these compounds will oxidate. The physical and chemical changes, such as this oxidation, that wine goes through over time can affect its quality and therefore need to be evaluated. In regard to color, white wine may begin to look more gold than green as it ages and a red wine appears browner.

However, wine analysis doesn’t have to wait for the lab. It can actually begin on the vine. NIR spectroscopy can be used in this instance to determine color quality and phenols just through the skin of grapes in the vineyard.

For more information on spectrophotometers and spectroscopy, visit

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