Wine enthusiasts often speak of their passion in artistic terms and florid adjectives, so it can be easy to forget that for as much as wine production is an art, it is also a carefully considered science. For 8,000 years, winemaking has used the most basic of scientific principles – trial and error – to determine the exact processes and materials required to produce the wines you enjoy today.
Neil deGrasse Tyson is a rare breed of celebrity scientist—an astrophysicist and research associate at the American Museum of Natural History, devotees of PBS perhaps know him best as the host of NOVA scienceNOW. He has also repeatedly been a guest on such popular programs as Jeopardy!, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report.
Last year, deGrasse Tyson began a radio show called StarTalk, in which deGrasse Tyson and his co-host or co-hosts – usually comedians – discuss the nature of outer space. However, astrophysics is hardly his only passion. He is also an eloquent and energetic collector of wine, whose collection has been featured in both Wine Spectator and The World of Fine Wine. Last week, breaking with his usual focus, deGrasse Tyson devoted an entire episode to the science of wine.
You can find the radio show and download it here. It’s a long episode, but the time commitment is well worth all of the fascinating facts you’ll learn.