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Don't feel the wine 'terroir' - learn about it

Is it crazy to say food and drink from different regions can be distinguished from one another?

Elizabeth Tomasino, an assistant professor of enology in the department of food science & technology at Oregon State University, doesn’t think so. Tomasino, also a core member of the Oregon Wine Research Institute, will speak about how food products from distinctive regions can be identified from one another — and how geographic origin produces quality attributes that can’t be duplicated in other locales — during a special event Monday in Hillsboro.

Understanding Wine Terroir is part of a food-science series called Science Pub, put together by OMSI.

Tomasino will focus specifically on factors that are important to wine terroir — how a particular region’s climate, soils and terrain affect how wine tastes — including specific examples of Oregon terroir and how these compare to other famous wine terroir.

Grapes grown in a warmer climate tend to produce a higher sugar level, leading to a higher alcohol content, while grapes grown in cooler areas produce less sugar, and retain more acidity. Many different soils found in vineyards act as “tea bags” for water passing through grapevine roots.

And of course, tradition also plays a huge factor in determining how a wine will turn out — depending on what techniques are used by winemakers, wines can take on different attributes. These are just some small examples of how differing regional traits work within the realm of wine terroir.

Tomasino specializes in wine chemistry and sensory analysis, using these two particular areas of study to determine the relationships between the two. Her work allows her to interact with not only the wine industry here in Oregon, but also around the world.

Her talk will be held at the Venetian Theatre & Bistro, 253 E. Main St., on Sept. 28 from 7 to 9 p.m.

The event is free, but a $5 donation is suggested.


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