The 2,170th Meeting of the Society

January 9, 2004

Retiring President's Lecture

Wine 202

Adding a Bit of Scientific Rigor To the Art of Understanding and Appreciating Fine Wines

Ken Haapala

Retiring President

About the Lecture

The murky history, local traditions, customs of wine making, and the lineage of vines and wines often confuse those who appreciate wines. One wine variety may have many different names. Conversely, the name of a wine may be the same in several locations, but the wine and vine may be totally different. A history of viniculture and why it is so convoluted will be briefly discussed. The fickle characteristics of the vines explored, the diseases that almost destroyed the industry explained; several common misconceptions dismissed; and 20th Century efforts to rigorously identify vines and wines will be briefly discussed. Rigorous efforts to understand the innumerable sensations of appreciating wines will be presented. Two individual experiments to better understand the palette for food and wine combinations will be demonstrated. Food and wine pairings will be suggested.

About the Speaker

A student of the scientific method, Mr. Haapala has over 30 years experience in the art of appreciating fine wines. Although trained as a Quantitative Economist, he has long believed that, though certain characteristics of wines and vines can be specified, the appreciation of a particular wine cannot be quantified for all. Mr. Haapala is on the Board of Directors of the international wine organization, The Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine; he is the President of the Nation’s Capital Chapter of that organization, a member of American Wine Society, the Virginia Vinefria Wine Growers Association, and the “Federation International des Confreres Bacchius”. He has authored about one hundred articles on wine and wine appreciation.