Napa. CA, June 26 -- After 60 years of trying to foster serious scientific inquiry into North American winemaking, the American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) has decided to bail--bag all the refereed journal crap, go for the moment.
Appropriately enough, this year's Annual Meeting was held in Napa, in the heart of the California wine country, after decades of rotating the gatherings of wine researchers and winemakers between cities large enough to have hotels with facilities that could accommodate a wine trade show--whether or not the locations (Reno, San Diego, etc.) had much to do with wine. The abrupt change in focus was announced by incoming president Christian Butzke, researcher and professor of Enology at Purdue University in Indiana, on the morning of the second day of the conference. The first clue was innocent enough, tucked into his introduction to a highly technical morning session, when he observed, "For all the science you're going to hear today, remember that we still can’t tell the difference in the lab between a $20 wine, a $200 wine, and a $2000 wine." The audience smiled, nodded, and zoomed in on the chemical chicken wire diagrams on the first PowerPoint slides.