1. What is your position at OSU/OWRI?
I am an assistant professor of enology at OSU in the department of food science & Technology. Specifically I deal with wine sensory and chemistry and teach an undergraduate and graduate level enology course at OSU.
2. What do you enjoy most about your work?
I most enjoy the interaction with students and industry in conducting my research. Over the course of a month I will be training students, running sensory panels with consumers and winemakers all over the state and teach. It keeps me on my toes and is always different, which means it is always very exciting and interesting.
3. When you’re not working, how do you enjoy spending your time?
I have a range of interests that keep me occupied outside of work. I sing in the Corvallis Repertory Singers, attempt to attend several music and opera concerts each term, try to get in a decent amount of exercise each week, catch up on reading, cook and exploring the Pacific NW. There are still so many interesting places to go that I haven’t seen yet and just not enough time. Then of course there is my quest to visit and taste at all the wineries in the state, currently I’m about 50% there.
4. What inspired you to choose your career path?
The diversity in enology. I have known since I was sophomore in college that I wanted to work in food science but it took a while to figure out that enology was my field. I love the fact there are so many different types of science involved, including sensory science, statistics, microbiology, horticulture, plant science, virology, economics etc. It is never dull and there is always something to learn.
5. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Your network is everything! Keep in touch with colleagues and friends and you won’t believe what can be accomplished.
6. Which three people (living or dead) would you invite to dinner?
Mozart , Pierre Herme (pastry chef) and Rosalind Franklin (chemist that was instrumental in determining the structure of DNA, RNA and viruses).
7. What is your vision for the future of your research?
My vision in the future is to provide those important connections/relationships between chemistry, sensory and consumer preference in wine. We are able to measure the individual components for each part and sometimes even relate these to specific viticulture and winemaking practices . But the most powerful and useful information for research and the wine industry will be when we can regularly and confidently interconnect this information. Imagine having a model where, based on your starting grape quality, you can have some useful and realistic information about the final wine outcome and potential consumer segment before you have even made the wine!