Look, dogs are amazing. They’re awesome cuddlers, always happy to see you, and they never talk back. On top of all their adorable qualities, dogs have also long been used as service and work animals. They can function as seeing-eye dogs, therapy pets, and so much more. They also have amazing noses, which is what makes them so good at sniffing out the drugs you’re trying to smuggle through the airport. We can’t fault the dogs for that one. But what if dogs could sniff out something more helpful – like wine faults?

Well, maybe they can. Dogs have noses that are thousands of times more powerful than the human nose. They have a more acute sense of smell, as well as the ability to smell longer. If dogs can sniff out cocaine, why shouldn’t they be able to sniff out a wine fault? One winemaker put her dog’s skills to the test.

In 2006, Michelle Edwards, owner of Linnae Vineyards, trained her then-2-year-old bloodhound Miss Louisa Belle to detect cork taint. She would add “synthetic TCA,” the chemical found in cork taint, to corks and scatter them in her yard. She would then command, “Taint cork!” or “inspect” and the dog would find the faulty cork. Five years later, Miss Belle was able to detect cork taint in a matter of seconds. All she had to do was smell the wine barrel.

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Imagine a winery having a row of dogs sniffing wine bottles before they’re shipped out for sale. Not only would this provide a purpose for a ton of abandoned dogs out there– ones that would other end up in shelters, or worse–but it would also be an awesome visual and detection mechanism. It’s a measure that hasn’t been implemented on a wider scale, but based on the success of Ms. Edwards and Miss Belle, it’s definitely one worth considering.

Image courtesy of Herald Sun