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Wine Discussed at Chemical Conference

Posted by perle0 on 2006-09-12 14:11:06 (5039 views)

At the 232nd annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco, some attendees spent Sunday afternoon examining the prospects of making better wine through chemistry.

Using chemical analysis to improve wine, by adjusting elements during fermentation or simply using it as a tool to decide when to harvest grapes, could be the wave of the future. But there's some concern that the result could be wines that all taste the same.

Tools like chromatography can chemically separate grapes or must into their component molecules, possibly allowing analysis of what makes wine taste, look, feel, and smell the way it does. By picking grapes when they have the desired levels of particular components, vintners may be able to create the wine they want more easily, rather than relying solely on nature and tasting grapes.

One firm even claims that it can offer suggestions, based on chemical analysis, of how to tweak wines to receive more favorable reviews from critics. The question is, do we all like the same wines the critics do?

As is so often the case with tools, what will ultimately matter is not what tools we use, but how we decide to use them. We can use chemical analysis to make mass-marketed wines that appeal to the broadest possible tastes, or winemakers can use it to tailor their wines to a wide variety of styles and tastes, making wines they love for people who love wine in all its infinite variety. Let's hope they do the right thing.

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