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With Pinot Noir it’s all about the Nose

Martin Perkins

22nd February 2016

Agilent 5973 GC-MSD, Aroma Volatiles, CIS4, GC-MS, Grapes, MultiPurpose Sampler, ODP, Olfactory Detection, Pinot Noir, SBSE, SPME, Sugar, The Economist, Thermal Desorption, Twister, Wine,


As an avid reader of The Economist, I was interested to come across this article concerning new technology being applied to work out the best time to pick Pinot Noir grapes.

The old way of doing things was to measure the sugar content of the grapes, however this doesn’t correlate well with the maximum level of aroma volatiles and so mistakes can be made that result in sub-standard wines being produced.

The best way to work out when to harvest the grapes is to measure the aroma volatiles directly.  GC-MS with olfactory detection is the chosen technique.

I sensed that GERSTEL would have had a hand in this and Bob Collins, president of GERSTEL USA, confirmed that the work was indeed done by one of his customers.  You can read a copy of the relevant paper here.

The instrumentation used was an Agilent 5973 GC-MSD, fitted with a GERSTEL MultiPurpose Sampler, Thermal Desorption Unit, CIS 4 Injector and ODP Odour Port.

Sampling techniques used included SPME and SBSE (Twister).

Goodbye vintages, hello quality control.