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Wine is more than bouquet, color and flavor. Inside every bottle there's also science, history and marketing myths, according to journalist and author Kevin Begos

Begos will explain "How Science and History May Influence the Future of Wine" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15 at Olin Auditorium. The lecture, sponsored by Whitman's Geology Department, is free and open to the public.

Begos will share insights from his book, "Tasting the Past: The Science of Flavor and the Search for the Original Wine Grapes" (Algonquin Books, 2018), and discuss how history and science are impacting winemaking and appreciation.

"I believe science and the history of wine are forces that are on a collision course. This will create both conflict and opportunity for change," Begos said.

Ripe for change is the common misconception that a few French grape varieties are superior to all others.

"DNA analysis and other high-tech tools are changing everything from grape breeding to detection of mislabeled wine," Begos said. "Science will give consumers and producers a vast amount of new information, but the facts won't always fit beloved marketing myths that have worked for centuries."

Begos has written for The Associated Press, The Winston-Salem Journal, The Washington Post and The Tampa Tribune. His reporting has taken him to Afghanistan, Uganda, Russia, Iraq, Sudan, Israel and Palestine.

The inspiration for "Tasting the Past" came from a chance experience drinking a miniature bottle of wine from the minibar of a Jordanian hotel room. The wine was from a monastery located between Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

While conducting research for his book, Begos was surprised to learn about the rich history of Middle Eastern wine under Muslim rule. He was also struck by the major role yeast plays in creating wine flavors and aromas, as well as the tremendous potential of hundreds of lesser-known, native grape varieties.


"The science of wine is even more fascinating than the myths," Begos said. "Now I seek out wines with a far greater diversity of style and origin."