Archive for the ‘Wine Research’ Category

Spontaneous fermentation

Monday, July 26th, 2010


Wild yeast. From:

Wild yeast. From:

Questions regarding the role and reliability of fermentation without inoculation are going to be with us for quite some time.

Today, on, Erika Szymanski provides a well done layperson’s overview of the issue. I had the pleasure of editing this piece.

I had written about these questions in a three-part series about two years ago. (more…)

How hot is your wine?

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009


Hot wine.

Hot wine.

Don’t you just hate it? That wine shipment you had been anticipating is delivered and when you take it from the driver’s hands, the box is hot to the touch. You dread to think about the temperature of the bottles inside. On such occasions, I have opened the shipper and felt the bottles to be warm.

An informal poll of the delivery drivers who visit my front door indicates that the inside of the delivery vehicle can be about 15°F higher than outdoor temperatures. The temperatures inside the delivery vehicle can reach 100°F when the outdoor temperature is 85°F. The question that begs asking, then, is: Just how hot does wine get inside a shipper if it sits in a hot truck during delivery?

My quest for an answer to this question is a featured article on today.


Do wine blogs matter?

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009


Wine blog survey.

Wine blog survey.

Doctoral student Tracy Rickman has posed that question and placed it at the center of her thesis. Tracy is a Consumer Research doctoral candidate at Auburn University and her dissertation pertains to wine blogs as an information source.

Participants will be asked to complete a survey that should take about
10-15 minutes.

I encourage everyone to participate in Tracy’s study (participants must be 21 years or older).

In Tracy’s words: “The survey is a little longer than the typical ‘polls’ you see out there. It’s a dissertation and that requires a little more of [the participant's] time. But, information from this study should provide general benefit to the wine blog community.

While I tend to be cautious about consumer and market research (which tends to have a master to serve), I am comfortable endorsing Tracy’s project because this is purely an academic project. Tracy – to my knowledge – has no vested interest in publications, blogs or the wine industry. She doesn’t have a blog, she didn’t read blogs prior to starting this thesis and is probably most comfortable describing her wine savvy as “beginner”.

Please tell your wine blog-reading friends about this survey:

Now, back to my convalescence.

Electrifying wine.

Friday, December 19th, 2008


Electricity. From:

Electricity. From:

I came across this topic on the Wine Spectator forum yesterday. Chinese scientists have been experimenting with electric current and wine. The process involves passing electric current across pipes carrying wine. In 2005, a Japanese man had come up with a similar process of electrolyzing wine.

This is not necessarily mad science, thought the lead chemist, Xin An Zheng is reluctant to delve into details.

I was one of those kids that incessantly asked “how” and “why”, exhausting the patience of adults. True to nature, I sent out some emails last night to get some insights on the scientific basis of this method. (more…)

Wine drinking habits of the average American.

Sunday, September 28th, 2008


Wine Bong

Wine changes. A bottle of wine displays different characteristics with changes in its own temperature as well as with those of the environment. Decanting changes a wine as well. Much of how a wine smells and tastes is a result of the wine serving ritual and drinking environment.

Steve Heimoff wrote about “tasting room bias” some time ago. I commented that much of that can be attributed to the differences in humidity, temperature and barometric pressure differences between the tasting room and his apartment.

Additionally, in the tasting room, a bottle is tipped numerous times before it goes empty. This oxygenates the wine and achieves the same effect as extended decanting. In my own tasting and assessment of wines I have noticed that a wine will display very different characteristics if I taste it in an air-conditioned room versus outside, on my patio. (more…)

Incidence of TCA Taint.

Friday, September 26th, 2008


Incidence of TCA taint.

Incidence of TCA taint.

Over a month ago, I wrote about a small experiment aimed to determine the incidence of TCA taint in a real-world setting. I created a survey on to gather data from volunteer contributors. The aim of the survey was to gather real-life data of the incidence of TCA taint in wines finished with natural closures. The survey was prompted by discussion of the true incidence of cork taint on the OpenWine Consortium (OWC), initiated by Remy Charest.

The participant cohort was comprised of 12 individuals (including myself): at least two winemakers and other wine professionals who describe themselves as writers, public relations professionals, wine education professionals and wine importers. (more…)

How to present research to the public.

Friday, September 19th, 2008


Science Conference

Science Conference. From

The general public is not science savvy and there is some truth to the notion that there is an anti-intellectual trend in our country. Too often, this is exploited for public relations purposes and for personal gain. Still, developments and advancements need to be brought to the attention and understanding of the average American.

The wine industry and wine blogging see announcements of health benefits of wine and other wine-related “studies” published and shot across the news wires almost daily.

I have been critical of how these publications are presented, interpreted, handled and served up for public consumption. My gripes have been that this is often done in a sensationalistic manner, with disregard for all sides and implications of an issue and with a sucking void where critical thinking should be. (more…)