Exploring the Chemistry of Wine

Exploring the Chemistry of Wine
Dr. Ernie Simpson

A glass of wine is not just a glass of wine. It is the product of a long process that requires expertise from the fields of chemistry, viniculture and vinification. Enologist Dr. Ernie Simpson will present a guest lecture titled “Chemistry of Wine,” on Friday, May 22, from 10 a.m. to noon, in The Collins College of Hospitality Management's Wine Auditorium to explore the science that goes into making wine.

The talk will include an overview of wine and winemaking and more detailed descriptions of the chemical composition of grapes and wine, laboratory methods for analysis of grapes and wines, sensory and organoleptic methods used for wine, the role of tannin and other phenolic compounds in wine, and some potential health aspects of wine.

This talk will also include a wine tasting with an eye toward chemistry. Dr. Simpson will walk the audience through these tastings by explaining the chemical components of wine such as acid, sugar, alcohol, etc. Dr. Simpson will demonstrate how these components change with the varietal of grape.

The event is open to anyone 21 and older. There is a $10 suggested donation. The donations will be added to a scholarship endowment that Dr. Simpson established to support Collins College students who have an appreciation for wine and an interest in a wine industry career.

Contact Lisa McPheron, The Collins College's director of communications and external relations for more details, at lcmcpheron@cpp.edu.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Simpson joined the Chemistry Department at Cal Poly Pomona, in 1968 after completing his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. (organic chemistry) at the University of New Mexico and spending one year as a visiting chemistry professor at Pomona College. In 1973-74 he was on leave as visiting research associate in the Department of Enology and Viticulture at UC Davis. He is an active member of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture and has served on the editorial review board committee for the society's journal. He has published a California wine guide.

At Cal Poly Pomona he has developed industrial chemistry and cooperative education courses/programs. He was the Director of Cooperative Education for Cal Poly Pomona from 1980 until 2001. His research interests and publications are in the areas of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, Carbon-13-labeled compounds, and phenolic compounds, especially in grapes and wine. In 1984 and 1986 through 1990 he was selected for Exceptional Merit Service Awards at Cal Poly Pomona. In 1996 he was selected as the outstanding advisor in the College of Science, and his co-op program was chosen as the best in California.

He is a member of ACS (San Gorgonio section chairman, 1973), California Association of Chemistry Teachers (program chairman and southern section president, 1985-87), California Cooperative Education Association (president 1996-97), and Sigma Xi.