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The Science of Wine: From Vine to Glass Hardcover – March 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (March 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520248007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520248007
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

If you drink wine, but feel uncomfortable using words like phylloxera, brettanomyces or anthocyanins in daily conversation, then this book is a godsend. Light on pages but not for lightweights, Goode combines hard science with a casual conversational style, and though whole paragraphs might discuss specific technical issues, Goode returns to layman language, asking a few simple questions if the discussion becomes complex. "Why then is oak so good for barrel construction?" he asks after a paragraph about oak genus nomenclature. "At what level does TCA the chemical causing cork taint become a problem?" he asks after a detailed description of chromatography-mass spectrometry. Illustrations could be better integrated with the text, and many of the distant views of vineyards are decorative rather than illustrative, but most of Goode's charts and insets help make the science digestible. Both the chemical composition of wine and the physiological effects of drinking wine, including a fascinating discussion of what actually happens in the brain as seen through MRI scans, are discussed in detail. The wide array of topics and Goode's reader-friendly tone make this a book that'll appeal to science students as much as wine aficionados and professionals.
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From the Inside Flap

"The Science of Wine does an outstanding job of integrating 'hard' science about wine with the emotional aspects that make wine appealing."—Patrick J. Mahaney, former senior Vice President for wine quality at Robert Mondavi Winery

“Jamie Goode is a rarity in the wine world: a trained scientist who can explain complicated subjects without dumbing them down or coming over like a pointy head. It also helps that he’s a terrific writer with a real passion for his subject.”—Tim Atkin MW, The Observer

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Bevetroppo on June 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm not much of a scientist. In fact, my career as a doctor ended abruptly in the first week of college when I discovered that a required chemistry course also required my attendance three days a week at 8:00 AM. So I approached this book with trepidation on several levels. Would it be pitched too heavily in science-speak for me to understand? Was it really more of a textbook than consumer's guide? Was it a soulless sucker punch for the reductionist school of winemaking so hideously embodied in companies like Enologix that use modern "science" to manufacture high-scoring Parker wines? Truth be told, I would probably have never gone near it but for a favorable blurb in a recent issue of Decanter magazine.

Well as Johnny Carson might have said, "Wrong, brettanomyces breath". This is in fact an astoundingly wonderful book for anyone with a passion for wine. It's too detailed and complex for beginners or people who don't really care about some of the factors that affect the taste and quality of wine. But it's also a remarkably humane pitch for the application of the scientific method to wine growing and wine making without in any way denigrating the mystery or romance that enshrouds the subject. Maybe a better quote would come from Joe Friday: it's "just the facts, Maam," wherever the facts that underlie the magic of wine can be ascertained.

The chapters in The Science of Wine systematically address the major factors and issues that contribute to the quality of wine from the vineyard to the winery. Each one is structured like a consumer-friendly, mini-version of an article in a refereed scientific journal. The author starts out with a description of what he will talk about, states his hypothesis, and then examines the evidence before ending with a conclusion.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Jennie L. Thornton on May 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I am in the wine trade and a MW student. This book compiles some very high-tech arguments on various topics in an organized, compelling, and clearly-written style. It was a joy to see all of these topics in one book, rather than searching 100s of journals and university studies on the web! I was able to use my new found knowledge immediately in discussions with colleagues--sounding like a true expert.

A great read for true "wine geeks".
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By R. H. Holliday on October 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I echo the praise for this book. As a wine geek with a liberal arts background, I was a bit hesitant to get into this book for fear it would lose me quickly. Quite the opposite. While there is plenty of "science" in the book, the book is written in a way that non-scientist types can fully follow and understand everything. There are snippets that go beyond the layman (like me), but overall, the author gets into just enough science without getting overly technical.

And, I greatly enjoyed the organization and structure of the book. I found the process of starting in the vineyard and going through the process up to the glass the exact right approach.

That approach also makes this a book one can do in stages, as each chapter/section is essentially a complete read in itself. I took probably 3 months in total to complete the book. And, having done so, I am ready to start all over again!

Highly recommended for anyone who wants a better understanding of what it takes to actually put the stuff in the glass and make us want to come back for more.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Keith W. Frey on January 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A generally well-written, informative, balanced, and certainly provocative look at a wide variety of subjects. Brings a welcome dosage of reality to wine, a topic that tends to produce flights of fancy in those who discuss and comment on it (me included), but at the same time the author is careful not to destroy our dearly-held beliefs. In other words, reading this book will enhance your drinking and thinking about wine. I did find myself wondering about how well some of the studies/experiments cited in the book were designed, and I kept hoping for the author to comment on that subject...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andras Babucs on October 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A really good book for wine tasters, bringing all kinds of knowledge that is hard to encounter at wine tastings. Going through the most important topics & problems of modern winemaking technology, giving a scientific review of brettanomyces, the chemical composition of wine, wine & terroir, etc...

A short handbook & reference manual on what we scientifically know about wine. Factual and fascinating. Really loved it, can look up any single chapter any time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Nardella on December 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If you are interested in why wine tastes, well, like wine. Or, if you are interested in what it is in certain wines that make them more appealing. Of, if you are interested in ANYTHING beyond knowing certain wine names, this book is a must buy! Author Goode not only makes some seriously scientific information understandable to non-scientific people (like me), but also enhances the appreciation for wine itself. After reading this book, I found myself really appreciating all of the work which results in wine I enjoy - and wines I think longingly about, during winter nights, or while being stuck in traffic during rush hour. Wine is a subject which contains within it a lot of passion. This book demonstrates the background and foundation for much of how we humans have guided nature in such a passionate way as to allow wine to be formed in such a way that it is "good" and pleasing to our pallet. And, I have used this book also as a resource manual while making my own wine for the previous couple of years; it explains what properties will be imparted to wine by various types of oak, and how cultured yeast strains can be more predictable than native yeasts. I find myself constantly reviewing sections of this book and think anyone interested in the subject will benefit from its reading.
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