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Overcoming the Challenge of Applying Chemical Engineering Principles to the Art of Winemaking

Originally delivered Feb 24, 2021
  • Type:
    Archived Webinar
  • Level:
    Basic
  • Duration:
    1 hour

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Producing a red wine involves a heterogeneous, three-phase system with complex fluid mechanics, heat transfer, mass transfer, and kinetics (both chemical and biological).  Yet, the vast majority of winemakers globally, and most of wine consumers, have no idea, and prefer to describe the process in terms of the smell and taste of the fermenting or finished product.  How much blackberry aroma is there in the nose?  Does the Cabernet fill the mouth pleasantly or does it make your mouth pucker in an unpleasant manner?  What if you could predict and explain these seemingly qualitative assessments using chemical and biochemical engineering principles?  In this talk, I will give some examples of how we have done just this over the years, touching on explaining the kinetics of yeast fermentations using unstructured models, examining how computational fluid dynamics can be used to explain the tannin profile of a finished wine, and understanding the biological basis of yeast ethanol tolerance and yeast-derived sensory impact molecule production using genome-scale mathematical modeling, among other ideas.  Ultimately, the goal of this work is not to replace the winemaker, but to augment the tools at their disposal to produce creative, high quality wines that delight the consumer.

Presented by:

David E. Block

Ernest Gallo Endowed Chair in Viticulture and Enology

Professor and Marvin Sands Department Chair, Department of Viticulture and Enology

Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering

University of California

Presenter(s): 

David Block

Professor Block is Marvin Sands Department Chair in Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis and holds the Ernest Gallo Endowed Chair.  Since joining UC Davis, he has conducted research on various topics, from fermentation optimization methods to metabolic engineering of yeast for improved wine production, as well as on single-plant resolution irrigation sensing and control.  More recently, his research has focused on computational fluid dynamics models for red wine fermentations and process optimization for cultivated meat production.  He played a key role in designing the UC...Read more

This Live Event was conducted on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, 9:00pm EST. Registration for this event is now closed.

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Webinar content is available with the kind permission of the author(s) solely for the purpose of furthering AIChE’s mission to educate, inform and improve the practice of professional chemical engineering. All other uses are forbidden without the express consent of the author(s).