Does your winery laboratory have a system in place to guarantee the quality of its data to your customers and regulatory bodies?
As the U.S. wine industry becomes an increasingly significant player in the world industry, the consistency, accuracy, and reliability of analytical data is of paramount importance. Lab data guides winemaking decisions, and ensures that your wines meet domestic and international regulatory requirements. Improved lab quality may also reassure customers such as supermarket chains and governmental liquor monopolies.
The introduction of improved quality management procedures into your analytical laboratory could improve the return on the funds invested in the laboratory and could improve the quality of your company's wines. The Society would like to play a role in assisting you with meeting standards, such as those set out in the International Standards Organization (ISO) Guide 25. ISO Guide 25, along with more definitive language applicable to U.S. laboratories, can be found on the website of the American Society for Laboratory Accreditation.
implementing an internationally accepted quality system appropriate for their environment which may range from the first basic steps to full ISO accreditation.
These five basic steps are:
A. Preparation of a Quality Assurance Manual that lays out the agreement or contract between winery management and the laboratory as to the quality goals of the laboratory and the resources required to meet those goals.
B. Method validation and verification constitutes one of the first steps to quality. Often, a winery laboratory inherits methods or they are passed down or simple adopted because they exist in a publication. ISO emphazises that a method is valid only after its performance has been demonstrated to be adequate in a specific laboratory environment. In this case, it means your specific winery laboratory with its staff and equipment. Furthermore, fully validated methods allow education of winemakers as to the performance limitations of individual methods of analysis.
C. Documentation of procedures must be done in a consistent format. This is necessary for uniform implementation of individual methods of analysis and is essential to the generation of quality data.
D. Training of new and existing staff, an essential first step of any quality system, is also easier with a consistently documented set of procedures.
E. Internal and external proficiency testing must be one of the first steps to quality. Internal proficiency testing verifies ongoing performance of methods; external proficiency testing measures the performance of the winery laboratory against that of industry peers.explained.
Ms. Jo McDonald, Technical Manager - Safeway Stores PLC, United Kingdom: The UK Food Safety Act, due diligence, and a major retailer's approach to wine quality.
Ms. Sue Weeks, Chairperson - Interwinery Analysis Group, Australia, Manager - Analytical Service, Australian Wine Research Institute:
The Australian experience with proficiency testing schemes and winery lab quality systems.
Mr. Chris Czyryca, Program Manager - Collaborative Testing Services: Presentation of results from the first round of the new California interwinery laboratory proficiency testing administered by CTS.
Mr. Gordon Burns, President - ETS Laboratories: Introduction and demonstration of the new ASEV Winery Laboratory Quality Systems CD-ROM.
Dr. Christian Butzke, Cooperative Extension Enologist - University of California, Davis: Session Chair