Friday, August 12, 2011

Wine wootacular

Darwin Award
The amount of sheer bullshit surrounding the "art" of wine tasting is well known to the skeptical community. Its extreme practitioners fall into the same general category as golden-eared audiophiles and people who can see N rays. All this has been dealt with before by greater lights than myself so I won't even attempt an analysis here. But today I ran across some of the most insane claims about wine tasting yet:
"Now, as a master herbalist and aroma-therapist, and as someone who has lectured extensively on natural health, anatomy and physiology I know a thing or two about plants, and how people perceive them. So, based upon what I know about how living cells function, these are my insights."
Wow, I'm impressed already. There's nothing like self-appointed experts. He seems to be bragging about how much he's talked about these topics rather than how much he actually knows about them. He also seems to think that "expertise" in one area somehow makes you an expert in another.
"Like all living things wine cells have a magnetic polarity, just like humans and the Earth. The positive pole is more highly charged, just like the North Pole of the Earth, which is why there are Northern Lights in the Arctic Circle, but not Southern Lights in the Antarctic."
Wine cells? WTF?? Strangely, his broad expertise don't extend to the Earth's magnetosphere as he's never heard of the aurora australis.
"Because plant molecules are mostly liquid, when they form they are also subject to the electromagnetic forces that are a component of the rotation of the Earth. As a result, the pores on the surface of the molecules develop based on that rotation, like the shingles on a roof."
Pores on the surface of molecules??? He goes on to make a comparison to the nap of hair.

At least he clears up the "wine cells" thing in a follow-up article:
Someone quite rudely took exception with my use of the word cell, which is in fact incorrect. The proper term would be molecule or even atom. Everything has a polarity right down to the atomic level, and when put into suspension in a liquid it rotates in relation to that pole. Because we are on a planet that has both a polar system and a consistent rotation, everything forms with a pole and a circular patterning. Wind it one way and it tightens and wind it the other and it unwinds.
Molecule, atom, what-the-fuck-ever. It all "winds" up the same.
Honestly this is just basic physics related to molecular science and plant chemistry, something which herbalists and herbal researchers deal with all the time. A pretty sober group of people. By the way, I've done an informal study of this and my hyper-sensitive clients all notice the difference in the swirl directions and the nature of the scents.
Bottom line: herbalist = <insert whatever professional scientific field here>

The fundamental claim would be ridiculously easy to disprove in a double-blind test but I doubt if anyone would bother. It's too petty. Please note that I'm not quoting the complete articles here. You really need to read them for yourself (they're short). What a whopping load of stupid to start the day with.

Update: I completely forgot to mention Biodynamic wine:
Let us take the case of Preparation 502. Yarrow is used because, “Its homeopathic sulphur-content . . . enables the yarrow to ray out its influences to a greater distance and through large masses.” As for why we should put it in a stag’s bladder, Steiner gets to the heart of his discussion here: The bladder of the stag is connected . . . with the forces of the Cosmos. Nay, it is almost the image of the Cosmos. We thereby give the yarrow the power quite essentially to enhance the forces it already possesses, to combine the sulphur with the other substances."
How could I not put that in? It's now a fundamental part of the wine industry.

Orson Welles drunk
"I wouldn't give you two cents for all the self-ordained or self-annointed preachers in the world"—Reverend Jim Bakker, former head of PTL 

1 comment:

metasonix said...

You ought to try wandering around California "Wine Country" sometime. (Yes, they always write it with capital letters.)

The bullshit of selling high-priced wine here is out of control. Because there are far too many rich assholes from Silicon Valley. They cash in their stock options, and a lot of them start vineyards with the spoils. Hundreds of middle-aged farts moved to Napa, Sonoma and outlying counties and started wineries in the 2003-2008 timeframe, now they are all doing and saying anything to sell their "finest vintages".

The end result is a lot of bullshit, plus the ready availability of really good wines for less than $10 a bottle. You see, when they are on the edge of bankruptcy, these "fine vintners" will cheerfully slash prices, in order to move the stock and get something for it. The price of the best wine grapes is still at record lows thanks to the financial meltdown and to the excessive oversupply caused by overplanting.

And they all thought they were so very, very smart.