On Tuesday, June 30, 2015, Cafe Scientifique, in the back room of The Railway Club (2nd floor of 579 Dunsmuir St. [at Seymour St.]), will be hosting a talk that might be considered edgy given that’s being held in an old style beer lovers’ paradise. The topic is the ‘chemistry of grapes’ (from the June 8, 2015 announcement),
Our speaker for the evening will be Dr. Simone Castellarin. The title of his talk is:
Chemical Makeup of Grapes: How Grape Variety and Climate Determine Wine Quality
Winemaking technologies and styles are critical to transforming high quality grapes into premium wines, but the quality of wine is really a process that begins in the vineyard.
Wine flavor and aroma are determined by a complex matrix of compounds accumulated in grapes during their development. This matrix includes organic acids, tannins, anthocyanins (the pigments of red grapes), and aromatics, as well as a large amount of sugars that are transformed into ethanol during fermentation. Even though the genetic background of grape varieties has a strong imprint on the chemical makeup of grapes, environmental factors (e.g., temperature, sunlight, water availability) interact with genes to determine the basis for the wide spectrum of wines we can find in the store shelves.
In this talk, we will explore the effects that the complex relationships between grape varieties and environmental factors have on the composition of the fruit and quality of wines. In addition, we will touch on how the study of grapevine genomes and their interaction with climate may boost the ability of viticulturists to understand the underlying biology that determines the complexity of wines, and the tools that they can employ to improve fruit composition and wine quality.
There’s more about Dr. Simone Diego Castellarin on his University of British Columbia Wine Research Centre research page,
My research focuses on viticulture and grapevine physiology. Particularly, it considers the physiological and molecular aspects that underlay fruit ripening and the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, and how they are modulated by the environment and viticultural practices.
My laboratory currently uses a multidisciplinary approach that combines field and greenhouse experiments and targeted and untargeted analysis of metabolites and transcripts.
The laboratory has a robust partnership with top scientists in the field of viticulture, grapevine physiology and applied genomics in North America and Europe.
My research is shaped by my agriculture-oriented background and considers those aspects of grapevine physiology that are relevant for improving fruit quality in vineyards.
Happy tippling whether you choose ‘the grape’ or ‘hops’!