Food Authenticity Podcast Episode 4 - Gordon Burns
Winemaking is widely regarded as a combination of science and art, with production methods and regulatory standards varying considerably between producers, regions, and countries.
As well as the deliberate adulteration of wines, the sheer number of brokers, importers, intermediaries, distributors, and retailers involved in the global wine industry means that there is a very real chance of quality issues arising due to human error, storage issues or other process complications.
This risk is coupled with high consumer expectations around wine quality and increasing demand from consumers to be confident in the origin, variety and even vintage of the wine they are buying.
Will Soutter discusses this vital issue with Gordon Burns, technical director, and co-founder of ETS Laboratories. ETS Labs has been in operation for over 40 years, and currently runs specialist independent wine analysis labs based in California’s Napa Valley - one of the United States’ premium wine growing regions – with satellite labs in operation throughout the West Coast of the USA.
The pair discuss how ETS Labs has adopted and, in many cases, championed a range of established and innovative analytical techniques in its ongoing work to assess the authenticity and quality of wines. The work to determine these qualities is carried out in numerous regions and aims to confirm the provenance of the wines, ensuring that they meet often strict regulatory requirements and high consumer expectations.
Part of this work involves the development of a comprehensive database of NMR spectra designed for the analysis of wines from across the United States, and Gordon outlines the potential, challenges, and next steps of this exciting and ambitious project.
The wine industry is continuing to thrive globally, with consumer demand holding steady and even increasing in some market sectors. This continued growth sees new analytical challenges linked to increasingly complex global supply chains and consumer demand for premium, high quality products with verifiable origins and traceable supply chains.
Dr. Gordon Burns
President and Technical Director at ETS Laboratories Saint Helena, California
Gordon Burns is the President and Technical Director of ETS Laboratories, a group of six independent laboratories serving the alcoholic beverage industry in the United States and internationally. He founded ETS with his wife Marjorie in 1978 in Saint Helena, California. Mr. Burns has served on and supports the American Society of Oenology and Viticulture’s Technical Projects Committee and the Wine Institute’s Technical Advisory Committee. He has also served as Section President of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists. Currently, Mr. Burns serves on FIVS’ Scientific and Technical Committee and FIVS-Abridge’s Technical Advisory Council.