The use of oak barrels for wine ageing is a widespread technique due to the ideal physical and structural properties of oak wood. The oak barrel is an active, interactive container that releases aromatic compounds and tannin when wet while allowing oxygen to penetrate and largely determines the characteristics of produced wine. The level of release of characteristics compounds to the enclosed wine decreases for repeated wine fillings and after a number of refills the barrel must be replaced.
Oak barrels have increased cost while currently the estimation of the maximum number of refills is empirical and its underestimation or overestimation can impose unnecessary cost and impair the quality of the wine. Hence, one can think of different sensing techniques for the characterization of an oak barrel used in wine ageing towards the development of a system to accurately determine its lifespan of use.
Here we present a spectroscopic approach, such as fluorescence, reflectance, Raman scattering studies to assess the chemical composition (tannin, lignin, cellulose) of the oak wood barrel and its dependence on repeated fillings yielding the oak barrel reusability as well as an optical fibre moisture sensor to monitor the wetting properties of oak wood during wine ageing and its correlation with barrel age and oak release of characteristic compounds such as tannins, phenols, anthocyanins.
Interview with Tatevik Chalyan
What drives you?
Curiosity and willingness to understand Nature moreover, also the idea of using photonics in enabling a better life.
Why should the delegate attend your presentation?
During this presentation, novel methods used for monitoring wine barrel ageing abilities will be demonstrated by using photonics sensing techniques.
What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
Photonics is a key enabling technology in many domains. In combination with machine learning, it can provide the greatest potential in the short and long run in various technological fields.
What kind of impact do you expect them to have?
Cost and time effective, towards portable devices.
What are the barriers that might stand in the way?
Limitations such as resolution, specificity.
Traditional methods are good and proved in time, however, photonic technologies can enable a new era of cost-effective ageing technologies in wine production.
Dr Tatevik Chalyan is a postdoctoral researcher in the Brussels Photonics Team at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She obtained her Master’s degree in Physics from the Yerevan State University, Armenia in 2012 and the degree of European Doctorate in Physics from the University of Trento, Italy in July 2018. Her research interests cover the fields of optical biosensing, such as SPR, microring resonators or interferometric biosensors, fluorescence microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, optofluidic design and validation.
Tatevik serves as a guest editor for the MDPI Biosensors Special Issue “Optical Biosensors for Food Safety & Quality Inspection”.
Tatevik Chalyan will speak at the 2021 edition of the Smart Farming Conference.
Brussels Photonics at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel uses the power of light technology to build a brighter world. Photonics, one of the Key Enabling Technologies of the 21st century, forms the core of our international research and innovation centre.