Wine, Words & Wednesday, No. 118

Today’s words come to us from Dr. Maynard Amerine, former Professor of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California at Davis.  Dr. Amerine taught, researched, and wrote extensively on the effects of climate on grape growing, and the sensory evaluation of wine.  Dr. Amerine’s research blazed a trail for the growth of the California wine industry after Prohibition.

Dr. Maynard’s words (below) resonated especially with me this week, as I’m solidly immersed in the first unit of my WSET Diploma studies — Viticulture and Vinification.  I haven’t read this much about chemistry since high school.  I feel like I’m reading straight from a textbook on Dark Arts & Black Magic, and it’s all vuja-de (the feeling you’ve never seen this before).

A random sample of the chemical symphony in my head right now (admittedly a little out of tune):

Polyphenols, krypton (the noble gas, not Superman’s home planet), mannoproteins, anthocyanins, isinglass (curiously, not a realm in Lord of the Rings), colloids, ferrocyanide (which doesn’t sound at all like something that should be in wine), laccase, tyrosinase (not a dinosaur, but maybe should be), potassium bicarbonate, and because it’s so fun to say (not at all) . . . polyvinylpolypyrrolidone.



  1. The fermentation of grapes into is simply a study in organic chemistry through a series of thermodynamic, heat, and mass transfer operations.

    Making wine is what I want to do with my chemical engineering degree when I grow up.

    Liked by 1 person

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