World wine breakthrough

AUSTRALIA is at the forefront of wine growing, making and packaging technology and a recent breakthrough keeps our country’s wine industry at the head of the pack.

In a world wine industry first, Australia’s BRL Hardy has developed a commercially viable technique to measure red grape colour to gauge fruit quality.

Until now, grape quality was determined by sugar level tests as colour testing might take up to six hours, which severely limited its usefulness in commercial terms.

This new technique will deliver red grape colour measurements almost instantly for on-the-spot decisions relating to quality, the method of processing and prices to grape growers that are based on quality.

Two years of trials and use during the 2000 vintage have given the technique, known as Near InfraRed Spectroscopy (NIRS) the green light. It was developed by BRL Hardy in conjunction with the Australian Wine Research Institute, with strong support from CCW Co-operative Limited.

While the NIRS system is currently limited to red grape varieties, BRL Hardy is experimenting with a machine that can test whole fruit that could enable its use for white grapes.

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