Talk on Art & Science of Winemaking

Nov 07, 2017 No Comments by

Dr John Moore, Senior Researcher in Grapevine Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Institute for Wine Biotechnology, Department of Viticulture and Oenology at Stellenbosch University will present a free public talk entitled ‘The Art and Science of Winemaking’ on Wednesday, 22nd November at 5pm at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) Auditorium, Observatory Road, Observatory*
Abstract: ‘Wine for joy. Wine for sorrow. Wine to remember. Wine to forget.’ – although extreme fermented beverages date back to the Neolithic, all knowledge of ancient winemaking is heavily influenced by Egyptian tomb art. The Egyptian New Kingdom portrays some of the most interesting depictions of grape growing and winemaking in the Near East. Grapevine domestication is believed to have occurred much earlier in the first city states of the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia and the northern mountain ranges. The ancient Mesopotamians and Egyptians faced the same challenges we face today in modern winemaking; effective irrigation, ripening, harvest maturity, cultivar selection, disease management, wine processing and temperature control, preservation, storage, ageing and consumption. This talk will meander from art to science through the limited knowledge we can glean from the ancient past; and fast forward to the modern scientific-industrial process that global winemaking and distribution is at present. The advance of scientific understanding and its applications in the winemaking process will be highlighted with reference to particular examples from research conducted at the Institute for Wine Biotechnology at Stellenbosch University. Most recently the first scientifically supported model for how enzymes unlock the nutritious, antioxidant-rich polyphenols and aroma compounds in grapes during crushing and fermentation to red wine will be discussed.

About the speaker: Dr Moore completed his studies at the University of Cape Town where he obtained undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry and a doctorate in Molecular and Cell Biology. His PhD thesis entitled The role of polyphenols and the cell wall in relation to the desiccation tolerance of the resurrection plant Myrothamnus flabellifolia (Welw.) was performed under the principal supervision of the late Associate Professor Wolf Brandt. Through this research work, while under the co-supervision of Professor Jill Farrant, Dr Moore developed a keen interest in the desiccation and drought tolerance mechanisms of plants. In addition, he became very interested in the chemistry of plant polyphenols and the biochemistry of plant cell walls. During his PhD he spent research periods at the University of Rouen in France where he developed expertise in the biochemistry and microscopy of plant cell walls under the supervision of Professor Azeddine Driouich. After obtaining his doctorate he worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in the laboratory of Professor Stephen Fry. Towards the end of 2007 he joined the academic staff of the Institute for Wine Biotechnology (IWBT) at Stellenbosch University

*Directions to SAAO Auditorium : From the N2, turn off to the M57 – Liesbeek Parkway; turning in the direction of Cape Town and continue until the traffic lights with Hartleyvale (hockey and football) on your left. Turn right at traffic lights into Observatory Road, pass the River Club; the S A Astronomical Observatory is next on the left. Once through the security gates bear left following the SALT signs to the auditorium i.e. last building on the left (white with stoep & ramp).  PLEASE DO NOT PARK IN FRONT OF DRIVEWAYS.

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