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Published:  23 July, 2008

The Wine & Spirit Association has announced that it and participating companies have decided to continue with the controversial research into the causes and frequency of wine taint. This follows the presentation of initial findings at the London International Wine & Spirits Fair, which caused a stir when the figures for faulty wine turned out to be much lower than expected (Harpers, 1 June). Out of 5,735 wines tested, 2.3% were faulty, with 1% oxidised, 0.7% volatile, and 0.6% musty. Former WSA chairman Dr Barry Sutton acknowledged a bigger sample was required, and now 10,000 bottles of wine have been checked. Participating companies agreed to continue the project, subject to: varying the methodology to take into account, among other things, oxidation at the panel assessment/ verification stage; holding an assessment day at Campden & Chorleywood Food Association for taint panellists; and possibly linking a calibration exercise to the current project. Sutton said: "We are also looking carefully at the incidence of oxidation, which appeared to be worryingly high in our first stage research. The recent reported findings in the Australian Wine Research Institute study would appear to confirm our view that we should analyse oxidation levels as well as musty taint."