Nuclear magnetic resonance makes it possible to distinguish wines from different lands

Another interesting application of nuclear technology

Researchers from the University of La Rioja have developed a method, using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), to be able to distinguish wine made in wineries of the Rioja Qualified Denomination of Origin (DOCa Rioja), through two alcohols, based on the plots in which the vine has been raised.

The study has enabled the analysis, over three years, of a hundred samples of musts and wines made with the Tempranillo variety by nine DOCa Rioja wineries; in this case, cooperatives in order to always guarantee that the samples came from the same plots. The samples taken came from five moments –must, finished the alcoholic fermentation, at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the malolactic fermentation– so, in total, there have been a hundred samples.

The nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) technique makes it possible to analyze all these samples in parallel, observe the differences between one wine sample and another, and determine the most different and similar pattern between them, depending on the winery of origin.

In this sense, the team of researchers from the University of La Rioja has found that isopentanol and isobutanol alcohols –two of the more than sixty that make up a wine– are the bioindicators that allow discriminating and differentiating wines from wineries of the Denomination of Rioja Qualified Origin made in nearby plots and even adjoining.

The research team is made up of professors Alberto Avenoza and Jesús Manuel Peregrina, professor Héctor Busto and doctor Eva López Rituerto, all of them from the area of Organic Chemistry. In addition, SØren Balling Engelsen and Franceso Savorani, from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), participate in the project.

This study has been published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry under the title 'Investigations of La Rioja terroir for wine production using 1H NMR metabolomics'.

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