NATINGA PROJECT

A revolutionary tool for detecting contaminants that affect the taste and aromas of the wine

The ever-feared contaminants
The contamination of the wine with a musty smell and/or taste is one of the most serious problems affecting wineries around the world. Organoleptic defects are unpleasant and severely judged, both by expert tasters and by casual consumers that are increasingly more informed and sensitive to the characteristics of wine.

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Analyzing this situation, in 2010, TN Coopers decided to broaden its perspective and focus on developing a tool that enabled the premature detection of contamination, identifying the problem at its source. The wine industry needed a tool with hypersensitivity, and the answer didn’t lie in better technology… it was in the animal kingdom. After 2 years of training, we introduced our contaminant detection experts: Ambrosia and Odysé, two adorable and hardworking female Labrador Retriever puppies. Moro, the male, joined two years later, thus completing the first litter of Project Natinga.

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In the press:

CONSIDERATIONS FOR IMPLEMENTATION IN VINEYARDS AND WINERIES

  • The dogs are with their trainer at all times. This is the person in charge of taking them with a leash along the various places where the purpose is to detect potential contamination sources.
  • The dogs do their detection work for periods of approximately 30 minutes, after which they rest before continuing. We work with at least two dogs at the same time so they can alternate between detection and rest in order to make better use of their work time.
  • The space to be analyzed in search of sources should always be free from the intervention of other animals. Although it is fairly common for wineries and warehouses where wine is made to be free from the circulation of other dogs for hygiene reasons, we always remind people that if this is not the case, the performance of the Natinga dogs can be delayed (the animal will instinctively go to the place where another animal has marked territory, generating distractions).
  • Once a contamination source has been identified, the animal will mark the area with a gesture easily recognizable by the trainer.
  • Labrador Retrievers are very friendly and playful; this, in addition to the Natinga training, makes them very docile dogs. They are used to being surrounded by people without representing any danger to employees and workers. That being said, just like any other domesticated animal, the dog may respond if it is provoked in a hostile and irresponsible manner by a third party.
  • The Natinga training is based on conditioned responses, with behaviors that are constantly rewarded with food. The Labrador is a dog that functions very well for these purposes, as it is a “greedy” animal by nature. For this reason, it is recommended that no food is left unattended and that the dog is not fed while it is working.
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