Scientists have developed a way of “carbon dating” wine which is able to spot whether it is fake vintage. The test measures the trace amounts of carbon released into the atmosphere during atomic bomb testing which have been absorbed by the vines into the wine. As the radioactive carbon has gradually reduced each year since the testing ceased in the 1960s scientists are able to pin point which year the wines were actually made. Currently it is thought that up to five per cent of wine sold is fake so the technique should go some way towards stopping customers being overcharged for a fake vintage. It has been tested on 20 Australian red wines made from 1959 to 1997 and has been accurate to within a year. I’m guessing, however, that for much older vintages the technique would not work as it relies on comparing the amount of carbon released from the bomb testing in the 1940s to 1960s, to the vintage in question.
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