By Tom Mansell, Science Editor
About a year ago, I started my own blog. About six months ago, I became the science editor for this publication. Several years ago, I was a scientist (I still am), but I knew next to nothing about wine culture. Luckily, I read a lot of magazines and websites so that I could learn all about things that didn't quite make sense to me from a scientific point of view.
Wine needs to breathe.
People say wine is a living thing, right? So living things have to breathe! Getting oxygen into wine actually softens the tannins, right there in the decanter! Never mind that the kinetics of tannin polymerization are on the order of weeks. Good thing I can buy a special "oxygenizing" glass to age my wine 10 years in 10 minutes! It must be some advanced technology.
Wine consumers only understand the 100-point system.
No one will buy a wine that gets 4 stars out of 5. That's like an 80 out of 100! A 5-star system should start at 2.5 stars, just like the 100 point system starts at 50. But really, you don't see any scores less than 70, so it should start at 3.5 stars. See, this is all too confusing for the average consumer! Which brings me to my next point.
Wine tastes the same every time you drink it.
Humans all have the same number of taste buds, so everyone's palate is pretty much the same. Therefore, an 89 is an 89 to everyone, no matter how long after purchase you drink it. After all, why have the precision of 100 points if an 89 could become a 90 or (gasp!) an 88 on a different day? Plus, aroma and flavor aren't affected by the food you consume with a wine, so tasting conditions really don't matter. Bottle variation is a red herring. What matters is that all the qualities of a wine can be reduced to a two-digit number. Simple!
Everyone hates hybrids.
The unholy mixing of Vitis spp. must be stopped! Disease resistance and cold-hardiness be damned. If it's not pure Vitis vinifera, it's crap!
Leaves are the enemy and must be destroyed.
My first article on this site was about the effects of sun exposure on grapes. I learned quickly that the only way to increase sun exposure to grape clusters is to remove every single leaf from the fruiting zone somewhere around bloom. Not only does this increase the cost of wine, but it gives otherwise bored vineyard workers something to do before harvest time. It's win-win.
Plus, it makes the vineyard look so pretty!
Winemakers and growers love it when people outside the industry tell them how to do their jobs.
How can you not love free advice?!?!