Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

science. For long it was maintained that winemaking was an art, but the proportion of the world’s wine made by individuals with little appreciation of science, even in the old world, has shrunk substantially in the last century. Now most people practising oeonology and viticulture are scientifically trained, often to a tertiary level. Even by the late 1980s, it had become difficult to discuss wine with many of those who grow and make it without being conversant with a wide range of scientific terms and concepts, including a host of measurements such as ph, ta, rs, GA (gallic acid), and ipt (indice des polyphénols totaux). The dramatically improved overall quality of wine since academe took a role in teaching and researching wine-related subjects is eloquent testimony to the beneficial effect of the increasingly scientific approach of all those involved with wine. As in all fields, however, the best scientists are often those who seek to explain rather than dominate, and in Old World regions whose wines have been admired for centuries, the best results are often obtained by those who combine scientific knowledge with a respect for tradition. For specific applications of science, see, for example, dna profiling, global positioning systems, infrared spectroscopy, and precision viticulture.