Science vs. Romance

In our latest MW Perspectives essay,  explores whether our increased scientific understanding of viticulture, winemaking, and wine consumption can coexist alongside wine's romance. Read an excerpt below, or click over to the full essay.

Has science taken away the romance of wine?

Wine, as a product and as a societal and cultural force, comprises both the scientific and the romantic. It is a substance that is defined by science in that it can be broken down into its biological and chemical constituents, quantified, and measured. Wine has been a part of human history and culture since antiquity, taking on an important presence in ritual both sacred and profane. Thus, the identity of wine unequivocally includes romance: there is an association of a positive feeling of excitement, mystery, and magic. Romance is by definition, then, a phenomenon that cannot be explained by science. This dichotomy begs the question of whether science has taken away the romance of wine. With improvements in vineyard and cellar technology, wine can be made based on formulas and tested for conformity in the lab. Further, numerous scientific studies have attempted to determine whether wine is beneficial or detrimental to human health. While wine may no longer be seen as a proverbial elixir of life or simply as a wondrous beverage that brings ineffable enjoyment, there is strong evidence that the romance of wine lives on.