Displaying items by tag: science

Monday, 28 August 2023 06:41

Beyond the Basics: Alcohol


Join Benoît Marsan PhD, Professor of Science and Wine at the Université du Québec à Montréal as he explores one of wines most crucial components - alcohol. Often over-simplified and regularly misunderstood, the affect of alcohol on our experience of tasting a wine as well as the stability of a wine should not be ignored. We're delighted to be able to offer such an insightful event from one of the world's leading experts on the subject, exclusively to our membership.

Further Synopsis

Ethanol is the most abundant compound in dry wine after water. It is formed by yeast during the anaerobic process of alcoholic fermentation, which transforms sugars (mostly glucose and fructose) into ethanol and carbon dioxide (CO2) with the release of heat and of a series of by-products contributing to the wine organoleptic profile. Ethanol is the only molecule intrinsically linked to the definition of wine, which must contain a minimum of 8.5 % by volume (OIV). But what are the main factors controlling its concentration in the final wine?

This webinar will give the chemical definition of an alcohol with examples of alcohol and polyalcohol compounds found in wine, such as higher alcohols, monoterpene alcohols, sugar alcohols, and glycerol, and their sensorial impact. But more specifically, it will look at the physical, chemical and sensory properties of ethanol, and discuss why it is so important to wine (during winemaking, wine aging and tasting).

How ethanol promotes wine stability? How does it generate aroma compounds? How does it affect the perception of aromas? Do ethanol is impacting the sensation of sweetness? Sourness? Bitterness? Tannin astringency?             

The new generation of consumers is looking to different wines than 20 years ago. They want lighter and more fruity wines with less alcohol, less oaky notes, and preferably certified organic or biodynamic, if not 'nature' without any added sulphites. On the other hand, climate change is causing greater accumulation of sugar in grape, giving wines with more alcohol. In this context, what a winemaker can do to produce wines with less alcohol? And most importantly, what is the sensory quality of these wines?

Benoît Marsan Bio

Benoît has been a professor at Université du Québec à Montréal for over 35 years where he specialises in the chemistry of wine. 

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Your brain —and all its sensory extensions in our eyes, nose and mouth— is your essential “tool” to perceive, remember and judge all the sensory components of wine. But do you really know how your wine-tasting “tool” works? Current advances in neuroscience are profoundly modifying our knowledge of the sensory and cognitive mechanisms of wine tasting and invite us to revisit the art of tasting.

Bridging the gap between oenology, psychology and neurophysiology, this “neuro-enological” lecture will present some recent insights into the diversity of our sensory receptors, highlight the strengths and weaknesses of our mental processes, and give some key elements to enhance our sense of taste. Join us for a wine journey into your brain!

Presenter: Gabriel Lepousez PhD

Gabriel Lepousez is a French neuroscientist and an international expert on sensory perception and brain plasticity. He received his doctorate in Neuroscience from the Paris Sorbonne University, and hold a research position at Institut Pasteur in the Perception and Memory Lab.

For more than fifteen years, Gabriel Lepousez has been exploring the function of brain circuits involved in sensory perception, memory and emotions, uncovering the key role of neuronal plasticity in olfactory learning and perception.

As a wine passionate, Gabriel also offers his scientific expertise to the world of wine education, sharing his extensive knowledge of the brain, this essential “tool” for wine tasting. In addition to international lectures and contribution to wine education programs, he has co-founded in 2016 L’Ecole du Nez, a neuro-sensory training for wine professionals to understand how the brain works during wine tasting and how to improve our sensory performance.

The Neuroscience of Wine Tasting with Gabriel Lepousez PhD is part of the Science of Wine Tasting Series, designed to help students of wine sharpen their tasting skills and master the latest scientific advancements in wine chemistry and sensory evaluation.


Published in Wine Tasting

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