A Natural History of Wine
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
An excellent bottle of wine can be the spark that inspires a brainstorming session. Such was the case for Ian Tattersall and Rob DeSalle, scientists who frequently collaborate on book and museum exhibition projects. When the conversation turned to wine one evening, it almost inevitably led the two—one a palaeoanthropologist, the other a molecular biologist—to begin exploring the many intersections between science and wine. This book presents their fascinating, freewheeling answers to the question “What can science tell us about wine?” And vice versa.
Conversational and accessible to everyone, this colorfully illustrated book embraces almost every imaginable area of the sciences, from microbiology and ecology (for an understanding of what creates this complex beverage) to physiology and neurobiology (for insight into the effects of wine on the mind and body). The authors draw on physics, chemistry, biochemistry, evolution, and climatology, and they expand the discussion to include insights from anthropology, primatology, entomology, Neolithic archaeology, and even classical history. The resulting volume is indispensible for anyone who wishes to appreciate wine to its fullest.
doesn’t necessarily care what makes up the shapes, taking its cues from the molecules’ external form. So now, with these tools of scale and chemical equations in hand, let’s follow how a carbon atom in a grape is transformed into alcohol. The natural (stick-and-ball) structure of carbon dioxide So far it’s been pretty straightforward, but atoms actually bind at different angles to one another, and representing carbon dioxide on a single line does not mean that the bonds made between carbon and
kill vines outright. Rainfall is another critical factor, especially during the growing season when too much rain may encourage the growth of mildew, or dilute the grape juice if it falls too close to harvest. In places with less than about 70 centimeters of rainfall a year vines may need irrigation, although surface watering (like fertilization) may discourage the roots from going deep. Winds, too, are important, sometimes cooling the vines and in other places warming them. Fortunately, there
wines correctly was allowing the subjects to think about what they had been told in the training session. On one level, experiments like these show that advertisers are learning more and more about what influences our choices in wine, and that they are going to find ever-subtler ways to influence people to buy their products. Consumers thus need to be on guard, because it is clear that how one experiences a wine is affected by a host of factors, some of which might seem to be irrelevant.
collecting and serving of wines purely as prestige items. This is increasingly happening all around us, as top wines become fashion accessories used to impress instead of being appreciated for their intrinsic qualities. The trend is accelerating, as vast quantities of top wine flood into affluent new markets where wines have not traditionally been drunk or enjoyed, and where, as the neuroeconomists understand so well, a bottle is likely to be appreciated far more for its price and label than for
against Rodenstock in New York City. The suit was thrown out in 2008 because the court decided it did not have jurisdiction; but by then the gig was up. Both Rodenstock and many luminaries of the wine world found themselves discredited, and even now both the legal and the sensory ramifications of the saga are far from being sorted out. As Wallace emphasizes in his book, the key to such sorry tales, as so often in confidence trickery, lies in the willing collaboration of scammer and victims.