Feasibility study for origin verification of Australian wine

Summary

Objectives
This project examines the usefulness of methods such as strontium isotope ratios, spectral methods and trace metal analysis, and DNA fingerprinting to authenticate provenance and variety of wines.

Background
Many of the great and popular wines of the world are the subject of occasional claims about substitution or counterfeiting which may attract media attention, damaging the image and reputation of the affected brands and countries of origin. Currently, there is no validated solution available to the Australian wine sector to use in such cases, and the underpinning knowledge about composition of Australian wine and how Australian wine compares to wine from other countries is missing.

Research approach
A sample set of approximately 180 Australian wines of known provenance will be used to determine the analytical variation and typical compositional values across Australian regions. 40 international wines will act initially as a validation set enabling comparison of study data with available international data, and then as an initial sample set to demonstrate the discriminating power of the analytical technologies.

DNA will be extracted from a small number of wines produced under known conditions. Subsequently next-generation DNA sequencing will be used to establish what product-specific information can be derived from DNA extracted from wine.

Industry benefit
This is a proof of concept project. If the project is successful, data generated by these methods will be useful in the event of a dispute about the provenance or grape variety used for production of Australian wine, or a technical trade barrier raised on the basis of this.