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The rapid increase in the use of CIELab analysis for the determination of wine color

From research to the cellar: collection of scientific articles presenting applications where CIELab analysis is crucial

Have you ever wondered how the use of color analysis, and in particular of the CIELab method (OIV reference method for this analysis), can support winemaking practices? And in how many and which applications the CIELab method can provide you with useful information, which you could NOT obtain with the classic method (absorbance at 420, 520 and 620 nm)?

The analysis of wine color is becoming increasingly important, especially for those wineries that produce certain types of wines for which color is an important and distinctive feature (rosé wines, for example).

For these wineries, color is a very important qualitative parameter that deserves the same "dignity" and the same attention in the quality control as all the other parameters (sugars, malic, total acidity, pH, etc ...).

To provide you with the widest possible overview of oenological practices in which color analysis can be of fundamental importance if carried out with the CIELab, we have retrieved a selection of articles from the scientific literature.

The topic of color in wine sector is becoming more and more important: if you try to do a simple survey on a specialized search engine like "Pubmed" (, you will get this result:

Figure 1. Number of scientific publications per year on wine color analysis.

In this case the graph shows the search result for the keywords “color AND wine”, in terms of number of articles published per year. You can realize by yourself that in the last decade the use of color analysis applications in the oenological applications has greatly increased ... and the introduction of the CIELab method in oenology has played a decisive role in this growth process.

Usually, in the scientific field color analysis is used to complement other techniques and evaluate conditions that can directly impact the color of the wine.

We have recently updated our database of scientific articles in which the CIELab method is used in the most disparate areas of oenological research (there are several dozen) and we would like to share with you a selection of these works, focusing on the most interesting applications.

It is not our intention to provide an academic view of these issues; in most cases we have, instead, preferred to select examples with very practical implications, which can be exported directly to the cellar; we hope that this "collection" arouses some reflections in you and that it can be a stimulus for the use of CIElab for applications useful to your needs.

The variety of fields of application in which CIELab is used in winemaking is truly amazing. Among those we would like to introduce to you, there are aspects related to:

  • characterization of polyphenolic profiles;
  • use of different materials in the tanks or in the woods used for aging;
  • use of clarifiers;
  • nanofiltration;
  • use of specific yeast species;
  • conservation of the finished product on store shelves;
  • different storage temperature;
  • type of cap used to close the bottle;

and much more.

In this report we summarize the content of the articles selected by us, focusing on the use and contribution that the CIELab analysis has provided in the different oenological practices described.

Link to the REPORT

Published on 08/02/2022
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