Sensory Detection of Wine Faults Over Time Using Flash Profiling and the Electronic Tongue

Primary Author: Victoria Minette

Faculty Sponsor: Carolyn Ross


Primary College/Unit: Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences

Category: Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

Campus: Pullman




Wine faults are negative sensory attributes in wine that may result in large economic losses for wineries and can be attributed to the growth of spoilage microorganisms.  Due to quality changes happening quickly, detection is critical, therefore the use of a rapid sensory profiling method, such as flash profiling, is very useful.  Thus, the objective of this study was to use the electronic tongue (e-tongue) and a rapid sensory method, flash sensory profiling, to evaluate changes in wine over time due to the presence of different spoilage microorganisms.


Merlot wine was bottled and inoculated with different common wine spoilage microorganisms.  Starting at Day 0, wines were analyzed weekly until Day 42 using the e-tongue, microbial plating and flash profiling. PCA, GPA, and AHC analyses were performed.


Over 42 days of storage, both flash profiling and e-tongue analyses differentiated the wines. The e-tongue displayed low discrimination among the different microorganisms through Day 14 of storage. However, at Day 21, the discrimination index increased to 91%, indicating the e-tongue was able to differentiate among the samples.  From the flash profiling data, citations associated with wine faults reached a peak at Day 42 of microbial growth.  As the e-tongue detected differences starting at Day 21, but sensory differences were not apparent until Day 42, these results suggest that the e-tongue is a useful tool for early detection of wine faults.  The application of these novel techniques may be the key to detecting and limiting financial losses associated with wine faults.