Scientific Approaches to Making Wine

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Pasteur planted the seed of a scientific approach to winemaking. That seed soon took root in both France and the United States. In the 1880s, the University of Bordeaux and the University of California established institutes of oenology. The Bordeaux group focused on understanding and improving traditional French methods for producing fine wines, and discovered the nature of the malolactic fermentation. The California institute moved from Berkeley to Davis in 1928, and studied how best to build a wine industry in the absence of a local tradition, including determining what grape varieties were best suited to various climatic conditions. Today, thanks to this and similar work in a number of countries, and to the general modernization of winemaking, more good wine is being made in more parts of the world than ever before.