Would you like a little science with your wine?

After I posted about the incidence of cork taint in wines, and started a discussion on Open Wine Consortium about the subject, I did a fair bit of searching for serious sources about the subject – and also about other defects in wines and various types of closures. (A fair bit of that research, by the way, was done through Ablegrape, which allows you to pinpoint scientific articles, among other advantages.)

Along the way, I stumbled on the web site for the Virginia Tech Wine/Enology Grape Chemistry Group. A treasure trove of great research papers about everything from sulfur defects to winery design and China’s Wine Industry, to name but a very few. Serious stuff, very informative and not that inaccessible.

I love it, personally. I love everything that can make my knowledge of wine more precise. I just have to find the time to read them. Maybe instead of twittering

Anyhow. Another scientific project I learned about is a group about… wine blogging, started by some wine-loving business professors at Carleton University, in Ottawa, Canada. I found out about them through the organizers of the European Wine Blogging Conference, who informed me that one of them was going to the meeting to study more of the wineblogosphere. So many test subjects in the same place: how could you pass the opportunity! I wonder if they’ll come to study us at the US Wine Bloggers Conference in Sonoma, next October…

And if you’re worried that knowing too much about the specifics and intricacies of winemaking would distract you from the pure pleasure of tasting and drinking, here’s something to think about.

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to interview Umberto Eco, whose specialty is dissecting literary works to understand their mechanics – and even dissecting the mechanics of language itself, through the science called semiotics. I asked him if all this work didn’t make literature less enjoyable. He shrugged, said no, and added: “Even gynecologists fall in love.”

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One Comment

  1. Posted August 23, 2008 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    I drink and write about wine for a living now, and I have to say there are moments when I only want beer! :)

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