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Simpson to lecture on chemistry of wine

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Posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 12:00 am

How often do you think about wine and chemistry at the same time? Well, the two are more related than you could have ever imagined.

On Friday, in The Collins College of Hospitality Management Wine Auditorium, Cal Poly Pomona Chemistry Professor Emeritus Ernest “Ernie” Simpson will give a guest lecture titled “The Chemistry of Wine.”

From 3 to 5 p.m., Simpson, who recently won the 2013 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Service, will speak to attendees about the chemistry components of grapes, wine and winemaking. Samples of wine will be incorporated into the lecture to supplement the discussion.

“It will cover all aspects of winemaking and the chemical components in wine and grapes and how they are measured,” said Simpson. “Also, the role of phenolic compounds and what role they play in wine. I will also talk about some potential health benefits of moderate wine consumption.”

Margie Ferree Jones, a professor at the Collins College of Hospitality Management, said Simpson truly enjoys educating people about wine and chemistry and is an avid wine collector.

“Ernie has been very interested in wine since he was a young man,” said Jones. “He has been a real collector…and he has quite a cellar. In the time that he was a professor here he often gave lectures to his Professional Association for Chemistry Academics and, in fact, continues to do that…He loves having a chance to teach people about wine in general, but in particular to use his expertise.”

Simpson, a member of the Society of Wine Educators, said the lecture will be chemistry-driven, but wine lovers do not need to worry.

“It’s a good overview of winemaking and wine chemistry,” said Simpson. “[The lecture] is both for the chemist type and it’s certainly for somebody that just appreciates wine and wants to know more about it.”

Jones said the information learned in the lecture could be applied to everyday life when choosing food and wine pairings.

“I think for many of us chemistry is a little bit daunting and overwhelming, but really what we’re learning is that it is pretty critical in food and wine,” said Jones. “You can learn a lot about what you like if you better understand the chemistry of what you like.”

Those who will be attending the event are required to pay a $15 donation. Proceeds will go to the Simpson Collins College Scholarship, a scholarship started by Simpson that supports a Collins College of Hospitality Management student who has an interest in pursuing a wine industry career.

Ryan Spicer, a fourth-year hotel and restaurant management student, was a recipient of the scholarship and said Simpson’s lecture will be a great opportunity to learn more about the chemistry components of wine.

“I took the class [Beers, Wines & Spirits] last winter and thought the lecture would be a really cool opportunity,” said Spicer. “It will be a really interesting look on wine from the chemistry perspective rather than a theory and tasting perspective… I hope to learn more about the chemistry of wine and the different things about wine that I don’t already know. There is always more to learn about wine.”

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of CPP, Simpson will also be providing wine samples from his personal cellar for an extra fee. They will span the past six decades and act as an illustration of how wine ages.

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