With dusty old booze bottles being an investment, pirates have been coming up with ways of creating knock-offs which they can flog for a small fortune. Normally, since the wine is rarely opened, they can get away with it for years.
Now wine merchants and nuclear scientists in France have come up with a method of zapping bottles with ion beams generated by a particle accelerator.
The beams are directed at the glass, not the wine, and can distinguish how old the bottles are and, roughly, where they originated.
According to AFP, the chemical composition of glass used to make bottles changed over time and was different from place to place.
To prevent counterfeiters from filling authentic old bottles with château cardboard, the scientists combine the ion beam test with another established method that checks for levels of a radioactive isotope, cesium 137.
This only works in identifying wines made in the era of heavy atomic weapons testing in the latter half of the 20th century.
Booze zapped by particle accelerator
By Nick Farrell on Sep 3, 2008 11:23PM