The traceability of food products, from the production zone through the distribution chain to the consumer, is at present a high priority in the field of food safety and is linked to the increasing demand for quality from consumers themselves.

For the first time a study coordinated by Professor Riccardo Petrini from the Department of Earth Sciences of the University of Pisa experimented a new method of traceability on the musts obtained from the Glera vine varieties from ten estate wineries in the Prosecco DOC district of the Veneto region. The results of the research carried out during three consecutive grape harvests, from 2011 to 2013, have just been published in the journal “Food Chemistry”.

“Our research team,” explained Riccardo Petrini, “was the first to actually use the strontium (Sr) isotopic systematics as a tracer for the area of production of the Prosecco. The chemical element Sr is similar to calcium in the plant-soil-water system, and the analysis of the distribution of its isotopes, by measuring the quantity in the soil, grapes and grape components, made it possible to show an effective and innovative tracer for defining the geographical origins of wine production in particular and of the agroindustry in general.”

The project for valorizing and conserving Prosecco wine in the DOC Veneto area coordinated by the University of Pisa was financed by Veneto Agricoltura in collaboration with a consortium of ten estate wineries from the area of the Prosecco DOC in Veneto. The team of experts who took part in the research are Luigi Sansone from the CRA-VIT Agricultural Research Council in Conegliano for the selection of the grape harvests and for the agronomic context, Francesca Slejko from the University of Trieste for the analytical methodology and Antonella Buccianti from the University of Florence for the statistical treatment of data.

“Within the field of the commercialization of enological products, the market demand for Prosecco is increasing progressively and constantly on an international level, with over a billion bottles sold in the last ten years,” concluded Riccardo Petrini. “It follows therefore that the traceability is of vital importance given that the certification of its geographical origins is one of the principal factors in determining its value.”