About Me

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Dublin, Ireland
Hi, I'm Dermot Nolan, and I became a Master of Wine (MW) in 1997, and resigned from the Institute of Masters of Wine in 2023 after being an MW for exactly 26 years. I opened a wine shop in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland, called The Wine Library, which closed in 2018, and this is my personal wine blog. I will do my utmost to be fair and responsible in my posts – please read my Who Pays article in re the ethics of wine trips and writing. I have worked in wine education, retail, and consultancy since 1990. I was a Director of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) from 2008 to 2014 and was also a member of the Events Committee, founder of the Trips Committee, and member of the Governance Committee. Having had problems with potentially libellous comments from unidentifiable posters, I now require that if you post a comment, you must identify yourself properly or it won't be published. Please note that I do not review products or services on request so kindly don't ask. I value my independence and I believe my readers (few that they may be) do so also.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gulliver in the land of Lilliput

Well, having spent one day at Livingston getting a good overview of Gallo's operation, I spent the next day with Professor Hildegarde Heymann at U C Davis. Hildegarde works in the Robert Mondavi Sensory department and gets to do some really fun things. In terms of scale, however, going from the world's biggest winery to one of the smallest (I think Drew Noon MW actually has the smallest winery in the world) was interesting in its own right.
On arrival, Hildegarde showed me around the various labs, including one of the tasting labs where I got to try a couple of the exercises the students do. You sit in a little booth with a series of black glasses and a computer screen. Each glass contains one reference sample and you smell it and then select which flavour you think it is on your computer screen. I got about 50% right, which isn't bad after a 75 odd mile drive. Then, you get a series of samples and you have to indicate how much of each reference sample is in the glass. You might not think this is fun but it's the kind of stuff I love.
This year, UCD got its new winery up and running with about 18 small fermentation tanks, each of which holds just about one barrel of wine. These have super-duper state of the art electronic gadgets that allow the students to monitor, in real time, things like alcohol production, temperature etc. These were designed by T J Rogers (I hope I have the name right) who is a silicon valley millionaire but who has donated a huge amount in terms of technology and money into the UCD wine programme.
Overall, a fun visit (BTW, those of you who feel I'm wrong n relation to the Riedel glasses might want to go to somewhere like Davis, or Geisenheim or Adelaide and ask the techies there what they think) with a lot of interesting stuff. Sad, aren't I LOL?

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