Innocence and Wine
Magic and Mystery. Nothing is a greater enemy to magic and mystery than Technology. It’s no coincidence that authority of the churches has declined in fairly direct proportion to the development of new technology that delivered new insight into the natural world.
Technology is the killer of innocence.
I can not escape this conclusion as I read that scientists in Australia are working on the creation of a "Cybernose", a technology using insights from the natural world that will allow detailed measurements of aroma and flavor:
"By 2013, we aim to have, in wineries around Australia, a cybernose
that will enable the wine industry to objectively measure aroma and
flavour – a more reliable measure than chewing some grapes," Dr Trowell
"This will enable winemakers to pick grapes at the time of optimum
ripeness and even to tailor the style of wine precisely and so improve
its value. This has the potential to contribute $750 million annually
to the industry."
Doesn’t sound very mysterious does it. Not very sexy either. There’s no question that if this technology is deployed it will give winemakers more control over the winemaking and grapegrowing process. And on many levels that’s good. But it does strike me as a tad sterile. In fact, it strikes in the same way that Enologix strikes me: I get the utility, but the emperor has a lot fewer clothes on..
Yuck! What a horrible idea! If this cybersniffer qualifies a wine as “good” but I don’t like it, where would that leave me? Someone with an unrefined palate or someone who simply doesn’t happen to like the taste of over-chardonnay? Innocence aside, wine is about your personal experience, not the opinion of a professional taster (electronic or otherwise).
Oops! That would be “over-oaked” chardonnay.
Why don’t they save time and just hire those “Supertaster” wine critics?
Besides, how do we know that worms have a good taste in wines? What if they like Mogan David?!
I’m telling you, this cybersniffer will make mostly boring wines; it will be useful only in the under $10 category.
The perfume industry already has similar equipment for scent – they can measure and identify various molecules down to parts-per-million. However, being able to identify and quantify the scents that go into a perfume is not the same thing as choosing a bunch of scents that work well together. For all of their machinery, they still rely on human artistry for that.