The SOMM Journal

February/March 2015

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Page 28 of 92

28 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015 { technology } THERE ARE FEW THINGS IN THE WINE INDUSTRY AS BLACK AND WHITE As the debate over whether Brettanomyces bruxellensis (brett) is a good thing or a bad thing in wine. But detecting brett hasn't always been an easy task for winemakers. According to Ben Pascal, co-founder and Chief Business Officer of Invisible Sentinel, a rapid diagnostic company headquar- tered in Philadelphia, tasting for brett "takes 7–14 days, and it doesn't like to grow in a Petri dish, so it may come up negative when it's actually present." Surprises of any kind, especially those involving brett, can be a winemaker's worst nightmare. Pascal's company has made major strides in producing technology that rapidly detects spoilage in food products, and back in late 2013, when Torey Arvik of Jackson Family Wines (JFW), based in Santa Rosa, CA, with properties around the globe, had decided enough was enough with the costly, time-consuming ways of testing for brett, he reached out to Pascal to explore ways of leveraging the same rapid-detection technology to look for brett in wine. "They taught us about the market and what is desired in an effective brett-management tool," says Pascal, "and we built that diagnostic to suit their needs. At the molecular level, you have expensive machinery and need a scientist—so it can be cost-prohibitive. Our technology makes molecular diagnostics very accessible." After just a week of testing through hundreds of samples of wine provided by JFW, Pascal's team had delivered a diagnostic tool, dubbed Veriflow BRETT, a small hand-held device for winemakers, which has been out on the market since May of 2014. Veriflow BRETT is for use on-site and delivers prompt and accurate detection of brett and beyond in about four hours. "This technology helps you understand where the brett is coming from," further explains Pascal, "so you can build trends and take note of when it's appearing, and winemakers are understanding for the first time ever where the organism is in each step of the winemaking process." And to be clear, for those brett-lovers, "It tells you how many viable cells are present," explains Pascal, "and maybe you want some brett—so we're not about brett eradication, we're about brett-monitoring." The product's success is evident in the rapid growing list of users—from Opus One and J. Lohr in the U.S. to NZMS in New Zealand and Enartis throughout Europe. For more information, visit Closing In on Brett INVISIBLE SENTINEL'S NEW TECHNOLOGY MAKES ON-SITE BRETT DETECTION A REALITY by Jonathan Cristaldi Ben Pascal, co-founder of Invisible Sentinel. PHOTO COURTESY OF INVISIBLE SENTINEL PHOTO COURTESY OF INVISIBLE SENTINEL A tray of Veriflow BRETT test kits, which offer rapid and convenient testing for microbial levels that need to be carefully monitored.

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