Element fingerprinting of Okanagan Valley wines using ICP-MS

Relationships between wine composition, vineyard and wine colour

J. D. Greenough*, H. P. Longerich, S. E. Jackson

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    77 Citations (Scopus)


    Analysis of elements in wines by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) may help protect prestigious wineries from counterfeit wines and permit source confirmation for government certification. Thirty-three elements were determined in 17 white and 10 red wines from 13 Okanagan Valley (B.C, Canada) wineries. Multidimensional scaling (MDS) shows that red wines are similar to red wines and white wines similar to white wines. Apparently processing (contact between must and skins during fermentation) affects Li, Zn, Mo, Mg, Ba, Ca and P. However, wines from grapes from the same vineyard tend to be most similar, regardless of the vintage, grape variety or winery that processed the grapes. This implies that wine element 'fingerprints' are relict soil signatures that survive metabolic and winery processing. Elements in wines behave according to geochemical water solubility principals indicating that soil Eh, pH and complexing agents affect element uptake. There is no clear relationship between vintage year or grape variety and wine element composition. However, discriminant analysis indicates that combinations of elements (∼6) from several geochemical groups can accurately classify the wines according to vineyard. Twenty-five elements (Cu, Ni, Ca, Fe, B, Mg, As, Sb, Mn, Sn, P, Al, Zn, U, Sr, Cr, S, Co, Ba, La, Mo, Ti, Pb, Ce and V), determined with high precision by ICP-MS, correlate strongly with vineyard of origin. The limited number of wines available for study requires that conclusions be confirmed with future testing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)75-83
    Number of pages9
    JournalAustralian Journal of Grape and Wine Research
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1997


    • ICP-MS analysis
    • Okanagan valley
    • Soil
    • Wine

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