Spain’s Electronic Wine Taster: Ultimate Quality Control
What is this new invention called the Electronic Tongue?
Barcelona’s Institute of Microelectronics has developed this device, which is a hand-held electronic tongue that measures various wine parameters such as sugar and alcohol content, age and specific wine type. Designed for quality control within the fine wine industry, this device represents a need to protect the industry and their customers from the growing potential of fraud.
How does this Electronic Tongue actually work?
In the past, laboratories tested to assess the quality of wine samples and the process took some time. With this new Electronic Tongue, testers can work on site and very quickly. The Electronic Tongue is also cheap to manufacture and can be programmed to identify new varieties of wine if needed. The Electronic Tongue contains six sensors, which detect substances characteristic of a certain wine variety. Acid, sugar and alcohol cannot hide from this detection device, and from these specifics the age and variety of the wine can easily be determined.
Who invented the Electronic Tongue?
Still in the early stages of development, the Electronic Tongue is the creation of Cecilia Jiminez-Jorquera and her colleagues from the Barcelona Institute of Microelectronics. She said of their collaborative efforts:
"The device is based on similar principles to the human tongue and is sensitive to just five different tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, acidic and umami (savory). Our results have demonstrated the potential of using multi-sensors as electronic tongues not only for distinguishing the samples according to the grape variety and the vintage year, but also for quantitative prediction of several sample parameters.”
Researchers hope the Electronic Tongue, when perfected, will be an even more effective judge of fine wine than the human palette.
Time will tell.
While waiting, would you care to partake in a sip of Chardonnay from the palatial estate of Henry VII or would you rather wait for a run-of-the-mill Chianti you can count on?
Check with the Electronic Tongue before you make your decision.
The truth may or may not set all taste buds free.
Here’s to you, Electronic Tongue! (Clink!)
M Dee Dubroff