Gamma measurements of a series of 40 red wine bottles have shown that all of them contain a weak but measurable 210Pb amount with the exception of the oldest vintage for which only a limit activity value is obtained. The origin of 210Pb is natural and connected to the radon activity in the air. If our original idea was to use this isotope for dating young wines, the experimental results have shown that there exists a large dispersion in the 210Pb activities, most probably connected to local atmospheric conditions.

This large dispersion prevents us from using this isotope as a precise wine dating tool. However, we have shown that the 210Pb activity measurement is useful to decide if a wine is a recent (around year 2000 or younger) or an old (pre-1952) vintage, which is an ambiguity not resolved by the former techniques based on 137Cs, tritium or 14C.

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