To Love, Honor and Cherish: Protecting and Treasuring Wine through the Ages
Over time, the origins for many traditional winemaking practices seem to have acquired an almost divine aura that distorts more humble beginnings that reflect common sense choices based on available materials and know-how. Use of the liquid-tight wooden barrel for storing and aging wines, and use of the cork stopper instead of pitch as an air-tight seal were likely adopted as practical and sometimes unexpected improvements over previous methods. At this Science Pub, learn about the on-going evolution in wine packaging materials and how it might have been a response to the early discovery that air is the sworn enemy of wine!
Dr. Alan Bakalinsky
is an associate professor of food science and technology and affiliate faculty in the departments of microbiology and biochemistry and biophysics at Oregon State University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis in 1989. His research focuses on wine yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae
) whose indispensable role in the winemaking process was only recognized about 150 years ago. Humans have been making wine for the last 7,000 years, as suggested by archeological evidence, and if we imagine these years to span a single 24-hour day, yeast’s essential role would have been discovered only in the last half hour of that day! Dr. Bakalinsky’s laboratory is interested in understanding the specific contributions S. cerevisiae
makes to wine quality. In addition, he has a keen interest in better understanding and overcoming the barriers that interfere with microbial-mediated conversion of plant biomass to biofuels and bioproducts.