The Winemaker’s Art

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Alpha Omega

Seeing wine as shapes.  It is said that the great maestro of wine André Tchelistcheff could recall any wine he tasted, that he remembered the expressions of wine as personalities and shapes. In the 1980s Grape Grower Rachel Balyeat hosted a special dinner to show my wine photographs to André  to ask him – what are they?  André said, “the photos showed the jewels in wine.

Lafite Rothschild 1976 at 30 yrs

Lafite Rothschild 1976 30 yrs

These photographs of wine  through a polarizing microscope, reveal unexpected patterns, shapes and incredible beauty. Some ‘jewels’ are said to portend long life, style, and character. Others may reflect the signature of the winemaker or the spirit of the wine.

Wine’s inside stories have appeared in numerous publications and venues including The World of Fine Wine MagazineScientific American, American Wine Expo, Sterling Vineyard, Alpha Omega Winery, Vineyard Vista, Earthrise Retreat Center, Lawrence Hall of Science, Copia, Grgich Hills, Hope & Grace Tasting Salon and Jessup Cellars in Yountville, CA.

TRANSFORMATION: Juice becomes wine

In wine’s creation story, it is evident that yeast adds something essential to the mix of sweet juice, acids, tannins, and pigments. This image illustrates early fermentation of chardonnay.  The tiny circles are Montrachet yeast. Yeasts transform sugar into bubbly carbon dioxide and alcohol; the alcohol brings more light to the microscopic display as it changes the refractive index of the fermenting juice. I interpret the light as reflecting spirit and vitality, though technically it’s a lot more.

Through grape’s partnership with yeast, the alchemical transformation of fermentation begins. Yeast loves sugar in the sweet grape juice, chews it up and converts it into bubbly carbon dioxide and spirited alcohol.

When grapes ripen from tight young green berries to plump juicy fruit at harvest time, sugar content increases. Typically grapes are harvested when the sugar reaches about 22-24%; percent sugar is also called Brix. The general rule, for every 2 Brix (2% sugar), 1% alcohol is produced. A wine label that says the alcohol is 12.0% also tells us at harvest the grapes were around 24 Brix. If the ferment reaches 15% alcohol yeasts’ work often ceases.


 Custom photography of your favorite libations, supplements, drugs, etc is another option.

THE BOOK:  WINE’S HIDDEN BEAUTY – We thought we were sold out but discovered some a few more copies.  So you can still purchase a copy.  Though we are planning a second  edition,  that won’t be available for awhile.

Specifics: French flaps soft cover, full color gift book 133 pages, 100 color photographs, 10 x 10

Retail price US$ 100.00 Limited copies left

How you’d like book signed

Reproductions of my photomicrographic art can be purchased at Fine Art America.

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