The new edition of my book Wine Science/The Science of Wine

I’m delighted to say that if you are as nerdy about wine as I am, there’s a new book coming out next month that will be just up your street.

OK, I am a little biased. It’s the new version of Wine Science, which in the USA is published as The Science of Wine. Both [...]

Wine and music, a scientific study

It is well known that context can affect our experience (and enjoyment) of wine. But how do you measure this?

In a paper published in open access scientific journal Flavour, Charles Spence, Ophelia Deroy and colleagues looked at potential crossmodal correspondences between classical music and fine wine. To put this more simply, does listening to music [...]

What is a grape variety? What is a clone?

We talk a lot about clones and grape varieties. But what, precisely, do these terms mean?

Let’s first define ‘variety’. A new grape variety is produced when a grape seed has grown into a plant. So the 1500 or so commercial varieties of the single species Vitis vinifera grown worldwide are all the result of the [...]

More on the MW dissertation claims about screwcap damage

I posted a few days ago on an article in a trade publication based on an MW dissertation by Alison Eisermann-Ctercteko that examined the extent of screwcap damage in the retail chain, and the implications for wine quality. This caused quite a storm, because it claimed that 26% of all caps showed some physical damage, and over 8% [...]

MW dissertation claims that screwcaps cause more wine damage than cork

The rise in screwcap use in Australia since 2000 has been remarkable. Now they are by far the majority closure, for fine wines as well as more commercial ones. But a Masters of Wine (MW) dissertation by Alison Eisermann-Ctercteko, which has been published in Australian trade publication Wine and Viticulture Journal, presents evidence that is [...]

A hugely interesting scientific paper questions what we know about musty cork taint

A scientific paper that has just been published in journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) examines the way that 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA), the key compound responsible for musty cork taint is perceived. The results are surprising.

They suggest that TCA acts on olfactory receptor cells (the cells containing the proteins that detect smells) by suppressing protein [...]

Ceilings for wine quality in Bordeaux

A nice-looking gravelly terroir

I’ve spent a few days in Bordeaux, during which I’ve had a chance to speak to a few knowledgeable people and also to walk through quite a few vineyards. (And run through some, too.) Harvest is a few weeks off, so it’s interesting to see the marked differences among the various [...]

Is wine expertise illusory?

There’s been a lot of chat, of late, on whether or not wine expertise is illusory.

The media loves the idea that the wine trade is an elaborate fraud, perpetuated by people who are more-or-less making it up when they taste wine. People outside the wine trade find the idea that experts can’t tell the difference [...]

Ingredient labelling in wine

Wine is unusual among foodstuffs in that it doesn’t contain ingredient labelling or lists. All that is required is the statement ‘contains sulfites’ if the total sulfur dioxide level exceeds 10 mg/litre (which is a level that can be achieved even when no sulfites are added; they are made by yeasts, too).

There have been calls [...]

Helix, a new cork-based closure solution

Very interested by this new development, which was launched today at Vinexpo. It’s the Helix closure, which is the result of a partnership between cork company Amorim and glass manufacturer O-I (Owens-Illinois).

The idea is very clever. By using a special bottle, with grooves inside the neck, it makes it possible to remove the cork [...]