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First-ever palm-top wine analyser

A Brunello di Montalcino producer is developing the first palm-top wine analysis kit with the help of a US$1.5m EC grant.

Stefano Cinelli Colombini, owner of Fattoria dei Barbi, aims to subject his device – which analyses the fructose, sucrose, ph and glycerol content of wine in around 15 minutes – to rigorous testing during this year’s harvest.

‘The idea is based on a similar kit which is used by diabetics for measuring the sugar level in blood,’ he said.

The kit works with wine enzyme bio-sensors. Designed for travelling enologists, or winemakers with more than one winery, it is the size of a conventional palm-top computer and can be easily attached to a portable PC.

Since 2000 Colombini has been involved in promoting the idea together with the universities of Pisa, Lisbon, Rome and Lund. He is responsible for coordinating laboratory research and building the kit.

‘The recent EC funding is a major contribution to the project, which is still at an experimental stage,’ said Colombini. ‘The first real test will be this September during harvest when we will be using a prototype of the kit to analyse all Fattoria dei Barbi wines. The results will be compared to identical analysis carried out by a laboratory.’

Colombini expects the kit to be commercially available by 2004. It will carry a price-tag of under €500, which compares very favourably with the cost of a single analysis of wine at €200 per hectare of vineyard.

Written by Michèle Shah12 March 2002

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