Multielement composition of wines and their precursors including provenance soil and their potentialities as fingerprints of wine origin

J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Jul 30;51(16):4788-98. doi: 10.1021/jf034145b.


The influence of the provenance soil and vinification process on the wine multielemental composition was investigated. For this purpose, two different vineyards from the Douro wine district, Portugal, were selected. Monovarietal grapes from a 10 year old vineyard were used to produce a red table wine, in a very modern winery. Polyvarietal grapes from a 60-70 year old vineyard were used to produce a red fortified wine, similar to Port, through a traditional vinification process. The multielement compositions (Al, As, B, Ba, Be, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cs, Cu, Fe, Ga, Hf, Li, Mn, Mo, Nb, Ni, Pb, Rb, Sb, Sc, Sr, Ti, Th, Tl, U, V, W, Y, Zn, Zr, La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb, and Lu) of soil, grape juices (prepared in the laboratory), and samples collected in the different steps of each winemaking process were measured. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry was used, after suitable pretreatment of the samples (by UV irradiation for liquid samples and high-pressure microwave digestion for soil). Both vinification processes influenced the multielement composition of the wines. Most of the elements presented similar or even lower concentrations in the wine as compared to that observed in the respective grape juice, probably as a result of precipitation or coprecipitation with suspended particles during fermentation and/or wine aging. Evidence of effective contamination during grape pressing, fermentation, and/or fining of wines (depending on the element) was observed for Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni, Pb, V, and Zn in the fortified wine and Al, Cr, Fe, Ni, Pb, and V in the table wine. Nevertheless, significant correlations were obtained between the multielement composition of the wine and the respective grape juice (R = 0.997 and 0.979 for the fortified and table wines, respectively, n = 31, P < 0.01), as well as between that in the wine (median of the two studied wines) and the provenance soil (R = 0.994, n = 19, P < 0.01), for the set of elements determined in common in the different types of samples. These results are promising concerning the usefulness of the elemental patterns of both soil and wine as fingerprints of the origin of the studied wines. Nevertheless, more wines from the same and other wine districts must be studied in order to consolidate this conclusion. The multielement compositions of the studied wines were compared with those of wines of different characteristics and origins, as well as with the respective legal threshold limit values, when available. Relatively low metal levels, below their threshold limit values, were found in all cases.

MeSH terms

  • Fermentation
  • Food Handling / methods
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Metals / analysis
  • Portugal
  • Soil / analysis*
  • Trace Elements / analysis*
  • Vitis / chemistry
  • Wine / analysis*


  • Metals
  • Soil
  • Trace Elements