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1. (WO2007006099) NON-DESTRUCTIVE ANALYSIS BY VIS-NIR SPECTROSCOPY OF FLUID (S) IN ITS ORIGINAL CONTAINER
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THE CLAIMS DEFINING THE INVENTION ARE AS FOLLOWS:- 1. A method of assessing at least one characteristic of a fluid held in a container utilizing visible-near infrared (VIS-NIR) spectroscopy, the method comprising: subjecting at least a part of the fluid in the container to VIS-NIR electromagnetic radiation;
obtaining at least a part of the VIS-NIR transflectance spectra of the fluid; and
correlating at least a part of the spectra obtained with a reference data set utilizing chemometric analysis to assess at least one characteristic of the fluid.

2. The method according to claim 1, wherein the detected spectra is at least part of the transmission, reflectance or transflectance spectra.

3. The method according to claim 2, wherein the detected spectra is at least part of the transflectance spectra.

4. The method according to claim 3, wherein the transflectance spectra is obtained by transmitting electromagnetic radiation through the fluid, reflecting at least a part of the transmission spectra using a suitable reflecting surface and retransmitting through the fluid before being detected by the detector.

5. The method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein assessment is quantitative or qualitative and/or both.

6. The method according to any one of the preceding claims, further comprising performing chemometric analysis of the obtained VIS-NIR reflectance spectra.

7. The method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the container has at least one area which is substantially transparent to VIS-NIR electromagnetic radiation at the wavelength used to perform the analysis.

8. The method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the container is a coloured or uncoloured and/or transparent glass bottle.

9. The method according to claim 8, wherein the glass bottle is a wine bottle.

10. The method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the VIS-NIR electromagnetic radiation used is in the range between about 350 and about 1100 run.

11. The method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the fluid is a beverage.

12. The method according to claim 11, wherein the beverage is an alcoholic beverage.

13. The method according to claim 12, wherein the alcoholic beverage is a fermented beverage.

14. The method according to claim 13, wherein the fermented beverage is selected from the group comprising beer, ale, spirits, wine, sparkling wines and mixtures thereof.

15. The method according to claim 14, wherein the fermented beverage is a wine or wine product.

16. The method according to claim 15, wherein the wine is selected from the group comprising a "red" wine or a "white" wine, sparkling, rose and/or a fortified wine.

17. The method according to claim 16, wherein the wine is selected from group comprising Riesling; Traminer; Frontignac; Sauvignon Blanc; Verdelho; Semillon; Pinot Noir; Cabernet Franc; Chenin Blanc; Chardonnay; Chambourcin; Merlot; Shiraz; Cabernet Sauvignon; and Grenache; and blends thereof.

18. The method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the at least one characteristic of the fluid assessed is selected from one or more of the group comprising: quality, pigments selected from the group comprising yellow, orange, brown and red, sugars, pH, total acidity, volatile acidity, density, specific gravity, degree of fermentation, spirit indication (alcohol), sensory characteristics (e.g. oxidation or browning), free and total sulphur dioxide concentration, and / or other characteristics that is indicative of wine quality value.

19. The method according to claim 18, wherein the fluid is wine and the characteristics that are indicative of wine quality include any one or more from the group comprising: galacturonic acid; gums; polysaccharides of arabinose and galactose; tartaric acid; malic acid; citric acid; succinic acid; lactic acid; acetic acid; potassium bitartrate; formic; organic acids such as; oxalic acid; pyruvic acid; butyric acid; iso-butyric acid; hexanoic acid; octanoic acid; Ketoglutaric acid; alcohols such as; ethanol; methanol; isopropanol; n-butanol; isobutanol; n-amyl alcohol; 3-methylbutanol; 2-methylbutanol; n-hexanol; 2- phenylethanol; polyalcohol (polyols) such as ; 2,3-butandiol; glycerol; erythritol; xylitol; arabitol (also called arabinitol); mannitol; acetaldehyde; acetoin and diacetyl; acetate; butyrate; oxanoate and other esters; ethyl acetate; ethyl formate; propyl acetate; isopropyl acetate; isobutyl acetate; isoamyl acetate; phenylethyl acetate; Esters such as; methyl ester n-propanol ethyl propionate; ethyl valerate; ethyl hexanoate (caproate); ethyl octanoate

(caprylate); ethyl decanoate (caprate); ethyl lactate; ethyl succinate (acidic ester); methyl o-anthranilate; amino acids; diammonium phosphate; proteins; nitrates; amino acid esters; vitamins; biotin; choline; gallic acid; coutaric acid; caftaric acid; fertaric acid; catechin; epicatechin; epicatechin gallate; procyanidin (Bl, B2, B3); catechin gallate; hydroxycinnamic acid esters

(coutaric, caftaric, fertaric); acids; glutathionyl caftaric acid; catechin + epicatechin; afzelechin; epigallocatechin; flavane (3,4) diol; flavonol-3; potassium; sodium; calcium; iron; lithium; magnesium; copper; lead; manganese; aluminium; zinc; rubidium; arsenic; nickel; anions; phosphate; sulfate; borates; silicates; halogens; fatty acids; boron; fluorine; silicon; phosphate; sulphate; chlorine; bromine; iodine; anions, sulphur dioxide; acetaldehyde-bisulfite (bound SO2); fumaric acid; vinylbenzene; benzaldehyde; nonalactone; ethyl phenylacetate; p-hydroxybenzoic acid; p-pyrocatechuic acid; gallic acid; vanillic acid; syringic acid; salicyclic acid; o-pyrocatechuic acid; gentisic acid; cinnamic acid; p-coumaric acid; caffeic acid; ferulic acid; sinapic acid; coutaric acid; caftaric acid; fertaric acid; digallic acid; ellagic acid; flavonoids; afzelechin; glycosides; tannins; flavylium ion; anthocyanins; cyanidin; delphinidin; peonidin; petunidin; malvidin; ethyl acetate; ethyl caproate; terpenoids; pyrazines; phenolics; chlorogenic acid; methyl anthranilate; ethyl anthranilate; methyl salicylate; ethyl salicylate; 2- methoxymethyl benzoate; 2-methoxyethyl benzoate; ethyl trans-2-butenoate; ethyltrans-2-hexenoate; ethyl trans-2-octenoate; ethyl trans-2-decenoate; ethyl trans-trans-2,4 decadienoate; ethyl trans-cis-2,4-decadienoate; ethyl trans, trans, c/>s-2,4,7-decatrienoate; ethyl frvms',cz.s'-2,6-dodecadienoate; methyl

3-hydroxybutanoate; 3-hydroxybutanoate; ethyl 3-hydroxyhexanoate; damascenone; furaneol; methoxyfuraneol; ethyl 3-mercaptopropanoate; trans-2- hexen-1-ol; hydrogen disulfide; carbon disulfide; dimethyl disulfide; dimethyl sulfide; diethyl sulfide; diethyl disulfide; methanethiol; ethanethiol; dimethyl sulfoxide; methyl thiolacetate; ethyl thiolacetate; cis and trans-2- methylthiophan-3-ol; 5- [hydroxyethyl]-4-methylthiazole; thio aliphatic alcohols; methionol or 3- (methylthio)-propanol; polyphenol oxidases; laccase; chlorogenic acid; protocatechuic acid; glutathione; 2-S-glutathionylcaftaric acid; acetaldehyde; 13'C-Norisoprenoids; 1,1,6-trimethyl 1,2- dihydronaphthalene(TDN); vitispirane; lignins; gallic acid; aromatic aldehydes; vanillin; syring aldehyde; coniferyaldehyde; sinapaldehyde; maltol; cyclotene; ethoxylactone; furfural; furfuryl alcohol; guaiacol; geosmin; malvidin glucoside; quinones; tartaric acid; potassium bitartrate; calcium tartrate; calcium carbonate; sorbic acid; ethyl sorbate; benzoic acid and sodium benzoate; diethyl dicarbonate(DEDC); dimethyl dicarbonateCDMDC); hydrogen sulfide; mercaptan; diethyl sulfide; ethyl mercaptan; pH, diacetyl, acetoin, 2,3-butandiol;

2-ethoxyhexa-3,5-diene; histamine; tyramine; putrescine; cadaverine; ethyl carbamate; urea, carbamyl phosphate or combinations thereof.

20. A method for determining the response of a visible-near infrared (VIS-NIR) analyser(s) for one or more characteristic(s) of a fluid held in a container comprising:
for each characteristic(s) of interest, providing a database or library, by analysing a series of samples using standard laboratory techniques and correlating the results with their VIS-NIR transflectance spectra,
utilizing the database or library to establish a chemometric model for the characteristic(s).

21. A chemometric model for at least one characteristic of a wine or wine product held in a container, the chemometric model produced by subjecting at least part of a wine or wine product held in a container to VIS-NIR electromagnetic radiation;
obtaining at least part of the VIS-NIR transflectance spectra of the wine or wine product;
correlating the spectra obtained to reference analytical data utilizing chemometric analysis of the spectral data.

22. The chemometric model according to claim 21, wherein the chemometric analysis is based on eigenvalue decomposition of the experimental data.

23. The chemometric model according to claim 22, wherein the eigenvalue decomposition utilizes principal component analysis (PCA) and partial least squares in latent variables (PLS).