Wine tasting

A handheld ‘electronic tongue’ devised by European scientists can determine the grape variety and vintage of a wine.


You don’t need a wine expert to identify a ’74 Pinot Noir from Burgundy – a handheld ‘electronic tongue’ devised by European scientists can determine the grape variety and vintage of a wine at the press of a button.


Designed for quality control in the field, the device is comprised of six sensors that detect acid, sugar and alcohol. From these parameters, the system can determine the age and variety of the wine.


The electronic ‘tongue’ was invented by Cecilia Jiménez-Jorquera and colleagues from the Barcelona Institute of Microelectronics, Spain, and its development was recently reported in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal The Analyst.


The new system is not only swift, but also portable, cheap to manufacture and can be trained to ‘taste’ new varieties as required.


Jiménez-Jorquera said that ‘the device could be used to detect frauds committed regarding the vintage year of the wine, or the grape varieties used’.