The SOMM Journal

August / September 2018

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Page 119 of 124

{ } 119 AS ONE OF THE first countries in Europe to delimit wine growing zones/vineyards, Hungary's rich history of wine produc- tion is well-documented. Although there's much debate as to when final legal recognition occurred in the 1700s, it's known that Prince Francis II Rákóczi of Transylvania classified 28 villages in the Tokaj region during the early part of the century. Lately, though, it seems Hungarians are focused firmly on the future. Diagnosticum Zrt., a laboratory diagnostics leader in the country, joined Bruker Corporation in forming the Hungarian Wine Consortium; together, they've developed a Hungarian wine model based on Bruker's NMR FoodScreener technology that will be used to authenticate and identify Hungarian wines, including those from Tokaj. The Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture, in addition to the European Union, commissions and funds the Hungarian wine identification and authentication program. Diagnosticum's key role is to manage the wine laboratory by screening samples sent to them by wine producers from across Hungary. After Diagnosticum uses Bruker's FoodScreener to analyze different measurement parameters and produce a report, each individual wine sample is compared to a database of reference samples— the breadth of which differentiates the FoodScreener from other instruments on the market. As a result of the collaboration between the Ministry and Diagnosticum, Hungarian wineries can submit their wines for analytical study free of cost for a yearlong period. Unavailable in Hungary until now, the resulting certificate gives foreign and Hungarian traders official verification of the origin and quality of the country's wines; according to Attila Balla, President/CEO of U.S.-based importer Vinum Tokaj International, this significantly improves their market position while simultaneously strengthen - ing consumer confidence. "The importance of wine goes beyond its pure market value—it empowers the whole economy," says Minister of Agriculture Sándor Fazekas, who signed the agreement between the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture and Diagnosticum. "It is therefore imperative that the wine is of excellent and authentic origin to be presented to domestic and overseas customers." Fazekas says the "essence of the strategic agreement" is that Diagnosticum provides "the technical background needed to draw the map of origin of Hungarian wines, and thus create a database based on a mathematical model." "We see great potential in the innovative work Diagnosticum is undertaking, which will unquestionably make the self-identification of Hun - garian wine possible," he adds. With wine forgery on the rise in central Europe, the Ministry is keen to combat fraud with the new NMR screening technol - ogy. These instances of forgery include counterfeiting, which can occur through the misrepresentation and mislabeling of grape varieties, blend origins, or vintages, as well as intellectual prop- erty infringement and wine adulteration. According to unconfirmed expert estimates, approximately 20 percent of all traded fine wine is counterfeit, so it's unsur- prising that anti-counterfeit technology companies are working hard to find solutions to this problem. According to Balla, the 350,000-plus bottles of the Tokaji museum wine inventory are among the wines set for authenti - cation and identification, yet those don't factor into the roughly 20,000 measurements Diagnosticum estimates it will have performed in Hungary by the end of the year. The company eventually plans to create a Hungarian wine map with Bruker by utilizing the analytical data. Considering Hungary's innovative history with wine, perhaps this futuristic development is simply following tradition after all. —Story sourced via The Resonance and Bruker BioSpin Corporation PHOTOS COURTESY OF VINUM TOKAJ INTERNATIONAL A team of young specialists at the Diagnosticum laboratory in Szerencs, Hungary. The advanced NMR technology used for wine analysis and authentication requires just 5 milliliters of wine to identify more than 50 parameters.

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