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Wine News

New wine anti-fraud measures introduced

Two new wine anti-fraud measures were announced this week, the first being atomic testing which uses radioactive carbon dioxide to help determine the vintage. Australian scientists say that measuring the amount of C-14 – or radiocarbon – in a wine, it can help determine whether it is really from the vintage stated on the label.

Between the 1940s and 1960s, atomic testing released C-14 into the atmosphere, which has since been diluted by CO2 from burning fossil fuels. Other events such as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster also contributed to the level of C-14 in the background. Grapevines have absorbed some of the C14, and their fruit when transformed into wine contains the same age ‘fingerprint’ as the vines. The method was tested on 20 Australian red wines made between 1958 and 1997 and found accurate to within a year.

Also this week first growth Chateau Margaux will incorporate a new anti-fraud seal on all its bottles. The new strip, known as a Prooftag, runs between the capsule and the bottle, and has a reference number and a unique pattern, both of which can be tracked on Chateau Margaux’s website. This is in addition to existing anti-fraud measures
employed by the estate such as a laser-etched bottle, a vintage-specific bottle moulds, individually numbered and bar coded bottles and cases, and special ink used on the labels and foil.

Recent concerns about fake wines and traceability have come into focus following several reports of forged first growth wines circulating within mainland China.