Testing origins. Is it really Champagne?

Do you get your kicks from Champagne? Then you might be interested to know that Champagne producers test the quality of their product to ensure their grapes are actually from the region. You don’t want to find out that your expensive bottle of plonk is actually a cheap version of the real McCoy! 

The only bottles that are legally allowed to show the name ‘Champagne’ are to be bottled within 100 miles of the region, anything outside of that in France, is sparkling wine so perhaps don’t deserve the expensive price tags. The grapes are also distinguishable by their flavour profiles usually found in cooler, chalkier and mineral-rich soils and are from one or a combination of these varieties:

  • Arbane
  • Chardonnay
  • Petit Meslier
  • Pinot Blanc
  • Pinot Gris
  • Pinot Meunier
  • Pinot Noir

In the production process, grapes are fermented into still wine whilst sugar and yeast are added to start the fermentation process as it is bottled. Over the course of time, trapped CO2 gas carbonates the liquid to form those delicious bubbles and the bottles should be aged for at least 15 months before drinking. 

What if your wine producer insists the product was made with Champagne grapes but it doesn’t taste quite right? Or that they have stuck to the correct production processes but it isn’t quite popping as it should be. Imspex’s leading GC-IMS technology in food and beverage quality testing can help by determining the product’s origins alongside other key measures. 

Flavourspec is our GC-IMS system designed to analyse the head space of liquid and solid samples. In the instance of testing the origin of Champagne, our technology analyses volatile organic compounds in the product to define unique characteristics or patterns either commonly found in genuine Champagne or never found at all, thus determining where it may have come from.

Origin isn’t all that can be tested using this method, the technology will test thoroughly and accurately for:

  • Off flavours
  • Changes in formulation or recipes
  • Oxidisation
  • Differentiation
  • Shelf Life
  • Expanding product ranges

You can think of Flavourspec as a plug-in analytical lab, giving high quality VOCs chemical process management in food or beverage quality testing with the ability to build databases and characterise peak profiles. Results from testing are available in easy-to-use data formats and the analysis run times are between 3-15 minutes ensuring you have fast and high quality results at your fingertips. The system is easy to use and highly sensitive with detection levels at low ppbv (parts per billion by volume) or even pptv (parts per trillion by volume) level. 

Your samples won’t require pre-treatment and the system requires very low maintenance and is able to function without the need for a separate gas supply. 

Some additional examples of projects we have supported with our Flavourspec technology include:

  • Analysing the source of headspace in garlic puree used in a tzatziki product following consumer complaints of an ‘off-smell’
  • Authentication of honey rather than just sugar syrup, comparing them across various countries of origin
  • Differentiation between brands of tea
  • How the storage time of dairy products like UHT milk can effect the VOC composition
  • Aroma profiling of rice
  • Process control on beer brewing – more of which you can read on our blog
  • The freshness of seafood during shelf life testing to determine best before dates

We are extremely happy to customise the solutions based on business requirements. For full details and to contact us with your queries, head over to read more about Flavourspec.