Bordeaux — Where wine history, science join: French professor to speak

August 06, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa, -- Serge Delrot, professor of plant physiology and director of the Joint Research Unit for Ecophysiology and Grape Functional Genomics at France's University of Bordeaux, will give a free, public presentation about the science and history of winemaking in his region.

Co-sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State Extension, and the departments of Food Science and Plant Science, the talk will take place from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 14 in the Paterno Library's Foster Auditorium on the University Park campus.

Hosted by the Interinstitutional Center for Indigenous Knowledge — or ICIK — Delrot will talk about the long history of Bordeaux wine and how local knowledge and research have, together, maintained and improved the wines of the region.

Audrey Maretzki, co-director of ICIK and professor emeritus of food science and nutrition, encouraged Delrot to visit Penn State to share his wealth of knowledge about the unique wines of Bordeaux and what makes these wines different from the wines of other regions of France and the world.

The Bordeaux wine industry has had an interesting and progressive history, from the late 1800s when the grape phylloxera epidemic nearly destroyed France's wine industry, to acquiring an international reputation for some of the world's finest-quality wines. Bordeaux exists today in a complex interplay between tradition, innovation and adaptation.

"The history of wine and how it interacts in our world today is an exciting topic," said Denise Gardner, enology extension associate in the College of Agricultural Sciences, who specializes in Pennsylvania wine production. "Wine embodies a mixture of science, art and culture, and Delrot's presentation will capture this relationship in one of the most historical wine regions, Bordeaux."

Prior to his ICIK presentation, Delrot will visit Pennsylvania wineries, experience the local wine-making culture and atmosphere, and present his research on grape berry physiology and the effects of climate change, with a focus on grape "typicity."

Delrot's presentation highlights the annual Pennsylvania Quality Assurance Group meeting held by Penn State Extension in Berks County. 

The quality assurance organization was founded in 2003 to increase awareness of quality Pennsylvania grown and produced wines. Since 2011, the organization has focused on viticulture and enology education, annually hosting world renowned speakers to present to its members and the Pennsylvania wine industry. More information about the Pennsylvania Quality Assurance Group can be found online at

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Last Updated September 10, 2015