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Collaborative Testing Services, Inc.

P.O. Box 650820, Sterling, VA, USA 20165-0820  1-571-434-1925
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Wine

It has been said that winemaking is a blend of art and science. We can assist with the latter. The CTS Wine Program helps wine laboratories obtain a true picture of their analytical quality data. Since 1999, we have offered an interlaboratory testing program through liaison with the American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) that provides participants with a higher degree of confidence in their measurements.
 
The program is structured for everyone in the wine industry, from independent wineries to large, multi-site laboratories. Each laboratory can choose to test any or all of the properties, depending on the laboratory’s need and capabilities. ASEV's laboratory proficiency ad hoc committee provides CTS with insights into winery laboratory operations. Testing is conducted three times a year, scheduled to minimize impact on the crush season, to provide labs with an ongoing quality assurance tool for evaluating performance. A viticulturist has so many decisions to make during the grape growing and winemaking process; the process is much smoother when you can trust your test results.

CTS Wine Program History

In the late 1990s several companies in the North American wine industry recognized the importance of a strong laboratory quality assurance system, as well as the risks and costs associated with poor measurement performance. Interlaboratory testing was deemed an important piece in any laboratory's quality system. The American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) became a lead advocate for establishing formal quality systems in winery laboratories. In 1999 the ASEV Analytical Quality (ad hoc) Committee developed a CD showcasing highlights of the principles of winery laboratory quality management to assist wineries. This ASEV Technical Projects Committee (TPC) sub-committee later became the ASEV Lab Proficiency Testing Guidance Committee (LPTGC) which acted as a liaison body for this wine program with CTS from 1990 through early 2010.

In the absence of an industry organization to set standards, CTS interlaboratory programs often employ a bottom-up approach in which all evaluation criteria are developed by participating laboratories. The ASEV acting through its lab proficiency committee recognized that this approach would mesh well with their goal of focusing all industry labs, from the largest producers to smaller wineries, on improving analytical laboratory performance. Events proceeded quickly and by March 1999 samples were being sent to laboratories for the first interlaboratory trial. Two published articles on lab proficiency in the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture (AJEV) reference the CTS data or the Quality Systems for Winery Laboratories CD.

The CTS wine program evolved with time. One of the first changes (2001) was switching from a quarterly program to a triennial schedule, allowing laboratories with limited staff to fully participate without compromising the crush season. Also in 2001, rotating research properties were added to explore new properties and to allow testing in previously uncovered areas. A Quality Managers Report was developed in 2003 to enable wineries with different locations and multiple laboratories to monitor results across the entire organization. The next program outcome was to give new insights about the differential performance of the multiple assays used to measure the nominally same properties. CTS made a special presentation on this topic at the ASEV 2006 Annual Meeting. This led CTS to offer two different analyses for sugar content that year and two method-based results being included in every web report. In 2009 Absorption at 420 and 520 nm and in 2011 Copper (Cu) Content were added to the regular list of properties in the program after successful evaluation as research properties. 

CTS and ASEV continue to have an agreement and the CTS lab proficiency wine program is featured on the ASEV website.

CTS Wine Program Schedule

Enroll at any time during the year. A subscription includes three cycles, which are outlined below.

Note that data due dates occur approximately 6 weeks after a shipment date and that results must be submitted on or before a data due date in order to be included in the report.

Participants can track shipments, submit data and access reports through the CTS Customer Portal.
 

Enroll Between September 16 - January 15

Samples Ship: Data Due: Reports Issued:
late February early April late April
late June early August late August
late October early December late December

Enroll Between January 16 - May 15

Samples Ship: Data Due: Reports Issued:
late June early August late August
late October early December late December
late February early April late April

Enroll Between May 16 - September 15

Samples Ship: Data Due: Reports Issued:
late October early December late December
late February early April late April
late June early August late August

Portal Links

Participants in CTS Wine Program tests can access Test Instructions on the CTS Customer Portal.

A Guide to Interpreting Performance Analysis Reports, available as well on the CTS Customer Portal, assists participants in understanding and getting maximum benefit from the individual reports issued at the completion of each testing round.