The next time you pick up a glass of Cabernet, you might stop and think about the science that went into producing that fine wine. You will if you were one of the nearly 500 guests that attended The Science of Wine on May 14, 2011. Sommeliers, casual wine lovers and “newbies” alike enjoyed a variety of wines paired with samples from local restaurants.

In an event that was described by guests as “uniquely the Science Center”, sampling was complimented by seminars and workshops intended to create a better understanding of how wine is produced. Proceeds from the inaugural event will support the Science Center’s mission “To Inspire Science Learning for Life".


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The great thing about The Science of Wine is that  it's so much more that a wine tasting. We're offering unique, wine-oriented programs to compliment a fantastic evening of wine and food. The following is a list of some of the presenters that will be onhand for the event:

Luis Torres

South American-born, Chicago-raised Luis Torres lends his extensive background in wine supply, distribution, and on-premise roles to the Constellation Academy of Wine. He studied Food Science and Technology in Mexico before spending 15 years in the restaurant industry. His experience includes an apprenticeship at Charlie Trotter’s with Master Sommelier Larry Stone, studies with the Court of Master Sommeliers, and management and wine buying responsibilities for all of Hilton’s Chicago properties.

Steve Butler

Steve is a Certified Wine Educator and Manager of Tim’s Wine Market. He is also an active member of the Society of Wine Educators. Steve Butler will be at The Science of Wine talking about the pros and cons various wine bottle closures, dispelling myths about corks and screwcaps! You’ll find him partnering with Andrea Marzullo at the Guess the Number of Corks station. You won’t want to miss the chance to win a case of Robert Mondavi wine.

Craig Lopus

This Sommelier and Certified Wine Specialist developed his love of wine after living in Europe for seven years. Combined with an MBA in Marketing, Craig’s passions for the corked concoction led him into ownership of Tim’s Wine Market Windermere. Craig is doing what he loves by sharing his love of wine while providing the best selection for any budget in his shops. He is also an active member of the Society of Wine Educators. Craig will be at The Science of Wine utilizing the unique Science on a Sphere to talk about where the outstanding vineyards of the world are located and why their locations make such great wine!

Brian Shields

Inspired by Hurricane Gloria in 1985 to enter the field of meteorology, Brian has always had a passion for the weather. As a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist, Brian brings his enthusiasm to WFTV Channel 9 everyday to give you the local Florida weather forecast. Also look for Brian in a special appearance in the Science Center’s WFTV Channel 9 Severe Weather Center exhibit inside of Our Planet, Our Universe.

Tim Varan

Tim is a Certified Wine Educator and owner of Tim’s Wine Market. Opening the first branch in Orlando in 1995, Tim’s Wine Markets now boasts six locations across Central Florida. Tim brings his 20 years of experience to his business and has the great fortune to taste over 4,000 wines a year to select only the best for his shops, which strive to provide only the best in service, selection and value. Tim will be discussing Wine & Weather with Brian Shields at The Science of Wine.


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Drinking wine is more than simply consuming it, it involves taste. Taste is a reaction that doesn’t require thought but it is very complex. The average person has 5,000 taste buds. Trying to decipher all of types of tastes can be proven difficult. There are many basic taste profiles found in wine. In order to fully taste and appreciate the wine you must learn what those tastes are; with time you will be able to recognize each distinct flavor. The main flavors found in wine are sweet, bitter, tannin, fruit and varietal characteristics, and aftertaste.

The basic taste profiles on the tongue are sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami (salt). Sweet flavors can be found on the tip of your tongue. Therefore if there are any sweet elements in the wine that will be the first flavor recognized. Acidity is the term in wine for a sour note. This flavor is found on the sides of your tongue closer to your cheeks. Acidity is more common in lighter-style red wines and white wines. They regularly contain more sour profiles.

Bitterness is found on the back of your tongue. It is very hard to ignore. Mostly this can be found near the end of the taste and can lead to the aftertaste. Tannin can be found in the middle of the tongue. Tannin can be found in either red wines or white wines aged with wood. Tannin is a sensation instead of a flavor. This sensation is why many don’t like red wines. Tannins are an acquired sensation. In white wines, tannin can dry the palate to excess. In red wines, tannins can actually coat your mouth.

Fruit and varietal characteristics are smells. You can tell the body of the wine from the fruit content. This will be found on the middle of your tongue. The aftertaste includes the overall taste and the balance of the flavors and sensations in your mouth. The amount of time the tastes linger can show the quality of the wine. The time the aftertaste can last varies from one to three minutes.

The best way to learn about these flavors is to think while you drink! You will be able to enjoy the wine much more if you realize what you are drinking. The easiest ways to determine what type of wine you prefer is to know the science behind your choice. If you like tannin then you might prefer an oaked chardonnay or a cabernet sauvignon. Knowing all these flavors, sensations, and smells comes with time. The more you drink and think; the more you learn what and why you like each wine.


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Cork is a naturally sustainable product and can only add to the quality of the wine. Cork is both biodegradable and recyclable. The production of cork is different than most harvesting products. In order to harvest cork, the cutting down of trees is not necessary. “Unlike its synthetic counterparts, cork is an inherently sustainable resource, both renewable and biodegradable. The cork oak tree (Quercus suber) is unique in that its thick bark can be stripped off every decade to extract the cork without damaging the trees, which can live 170 to 250 years on average.” (100percentcork.org)

Most winemakers would agree that cork can add to the quality of the wine better than any type of closure. In the Wine Business Monthly 2009 Closure Report, wineries rated closures by perceived consumer acceptance. Natural cork received the highest marks. A more direct study of consumer perception was conducted by the Oregon State University Food Innovation Center. It found that consumers perceived wine finished with cork to have higher quality and price than the same wine finished in alternative closures. (100percentcork.org).

You can learn about all things wine at our first annual Science of Wine event.  If you’re planning a trip to the Science Center before the event, you can guess the amount of corks displayed in the lobby to receive various prizes. Good luck and happy guessing!


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Terroir is the term used to classify everything that happens to the grape naturally. This includes the geographical region, soil, and the weather. Terroir is a French term meaning land and is a major determining factor is the quality of the wine. For some wines to be in best quality, the grapes must be harvested in what most people might say are harsh environments. This is called the “Struggling Vine Theory”. You might think that growing grapes in cold environments or in limestone gravel wouldn’t be ideal but for some grapes this is the best environment.

The location of the vineyard can affect the whole grape production. The soil composition, exposure to sun, and the climate can change the quality of the wine produced. Sometimes even within the same vineyard, depending on the sun position and other factors, a difference can be seen in the grapes produced.

When looking at grape harvesting it is important to keep in mind that there are many factors that go into even the growing of the grapes. If you want to learn about the difference that terroir makes on growing grapes and making wine, sign up for the Appellations Can you Tell the Difference seminar at the Science of Wine on May 14.  Utilizing Google Earth, the participants will visit four California vineyards and taste the wines that come from those vineyards.

Napa


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Smell is our strongest sense and in wine tasting this becomes dominant. The smell can change the whole experience. It is crucial to know what to look for when you smell a good wine and the technique required to do so. Smell is an uncontrollable sense so it is only natural that this can change the taste of anything including wine. Each grape variety has its own distinct smell characteristics. One can also pick up some of the winemakers techniques when they know what they are looking for. For example, if a Chardonnay is fermented using oak chips to add more flavoring, the smell is quite different from a Chardonnay without oak additives.

Smell is something that occurs without training but with a little bit of attention to details one can learn how to master the art of smelling. Before smelling, it is crucial to swirl the glass of wine. This will allow the smells to open up and become more distinct. Try smelling the wine before swirling and try to notice the difference. When you have learned how to smell using these basic techniques you will begin to pick up on the subtle and strong differences between the wine varieties.

Want to see for yourself how much smell effects taste? Try the jelly bean experiment. Take a jelly bean without knowing the color. Plug your nose then put the jelly bean in your mouth. You will be able to tell that it is sweet and know the texture but not much more than that. Then unplug your nose. Did you notice the change in flavor? Now you should be able to tell what flavor the jelly bean is without a doubt. Surprised how much smell goes into the tastes. Now you might see why it is so important to smell the wine before tasting to get the full experience of what you are enjoying.

 

Wine_Glass


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The Academy of Wine has grown tremendously from its beginnings in the early 1990s when Steve Hosmer, Director Wine Education West Coast, travelled the country offering wine education seminars. He was joined by Luis Torres, Director of Wine Education East Coast, in 2000 and together they formally created the "University of Wine” and offered education for key accounts and distributors.

In 2002, the Wine Alliance Company was purchased and the "Academy of Wine” was introduced as the new banner for the education team. From 2003 through 2013, the Academy of Wine has enlightened more than 10,000 students annually. Today The Academy of Wine is brought to you by Constellation Wines US.

 

Luis Torres

Wine Expert: Luis Torres

South American-born, Chicago-raised Luis Torres lends his extensive background in wine supply, distribution, and on-premise roles to the Academy. He studied Food Science and Technology before spending 15 years in the restaurant industry. His experience includes an apprenticeship at Charlie Trotter’s with Master Sommelier Larry Stone, studies with the Court of Master Sommeliers, The Wine and Spirits Education Trust and management and wine buying responsibilities for all of Hilton’s Chicago star properties.

Read more...


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On Thursday, March 13, 2014, Orlando Science Center hosted the 31st annual Cosmic Golf Challenge at the Championsgate Golf Club. Sponsored by Bright House Networks for more than three decades, the event raises funds for the progression of science education. At the event, corporate teams and individual players came together to swing for science over 18 holes of four-person scramble tournament play.

The fun didn’t stop after the tournament, of course. The event also included dinner and a raffle, where lucky guests won rounds of golf for four at any Walt Disney World course, passes to some of the best attractions in Orlando including Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, and Universal Studios, as well as a Golf Buddy Voice GPS watch, and much more.

Photo Credit: Gelderland Productions


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Fun is Par for the Course When You Drive for Science!

The Orlando Science Center recently held its annual Cosmic Golf Challenge at the Grand Cypress Golf Club on Thursday, March 28. Sponsored by Bright House Networks and Cisco Systems, the event hosted nearly 200 golfers who putted for progress with proceeds supporting Orlando Science Center and its educational programs.

Photos courtesy of RF Photography


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It was a beautiful day for golf, fun and science as the Grand Cypress Golf Club hosted the 29th Annual Cosmic Golf Challenge benefitting the Orlando Science Center! Sponsored by Bright House Networks and Cisco Systems, golfers took part in an 18 hole best ball tournament to support education programs that encourage children to explore the world around them through science.

Thanks to participation, hole sponsorships and raffle and mulligan purchases, the event raised the most money to date! Enjoy these photos that had competitors putting for progress!

Photos courtesy of Michael van Gelder.


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One small step for man; one giant leap for science!

For the 22nd straight year, Track Shack's Celebration of Running 5k presented by Florida Hospital benefited Orlando Science Center. More than 2,400 runners woke up early and ran 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) to raise money for science education programs at the Science Center.

Race through the photos and remember that it's never too early to start training for next year!

Photo Credit: RF Photography


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Track Shack's 21st Annual Celebration of Running 5K presented by Florida Hospital is officially in the books! More than 2,400 runners took part to kick off the running season, with this event's proceeds benefiting Orlando Science Center.

It was also host to JoAnn Newman's 5K Challenge, in which the Science Center's President & CEO challenged the community to beat her time for a chance to win a family membership.

Run through the photos and remember that it's never too early to start training for next year!


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