THE SCIENCE OF WINE No. 1: Technology’s Uses — and Its Limits

11/5/2015 10:01:38 PM

“The Science of Wine” is a monthly column by Christian Gastón Palmaz about the pursuit (and achievement) of the seamless fusion of technology, art and tradition in winemaking. 

PAY A VISIT TO Palmaz Vineyards and you’ll encounter a dazzling array of technology, but don’t be fooled — all that swanky, futuristic stuff is not what makes the wine. Like so many other technical art forms, winemaking at its core remains qualitative, creative and intimately human. At Palmaz, the art of wine still occurs in the glass, and magic happens in those quiet moments when the winemaker’s mind is open to perceiving, appreciating and harnessing what Mother Nature has given to a particular vintage.

Beginning with my time in school, I’ve been struck by the way some technology actually impinges on the ability to be creative. Learning how to code in various programming languages and toiling on spreadsheets made my brain ache. Database technologies are powerful tools, but I fell victim to spending countless hours crunching data and not enough time outside with dirt under my boots.

We founded Palmaz Vineyards with one primary goal: Don’t let technology interfere with the art of wine. Our tech is there only to support the winemaking team and alleviate their need to spend the kind of time I had to in school making the numbers add up. Useful instruments and programs are those that maximize the winemaker’s time, enabling her to spend more of it with the single most important weapon in her arsenal: her glass.

This monthly column, “The Science of Wine,” will illustrate how our dedication to the art of wine is augmented and enhanced by the technology we employ. As you read, I hope you’ll be inspired to see the gadgets all around us as a useful tool and not an impediment to your creativity. If your tablet or phone is getting in the way of your enjoyment of the art of wine, shut it down and grab a glass! Our winemaking team does so all the time, and I encourage you to do the same.

Swirling and signing off,

Christian Gastón Palmaz