During a wine tasting in the Willamette Valley you may be told whether or not the wine went through a “secondary fermentation.” If you’ve ever wondered what this means, here is my exploration of the science behind malolactic fermentation: from the vineyard to the bottle. Background: Winemakers use a bacterial process, “secondary fermentation,” to convert malic acid to the softer smoother yogurty lactic-acids. Malolactic Fermentation Investigation 1. Waiting to perfect ripeness is risky. Many fruits, including grapes, are acid-tart until they ripen. How many times have you picked…

We Need to Label GMO Foods The slightly less nerdy version: My letter to Willamette Week. If you’re interested in my original blog post, read on: I’ve come to the conclusion I’d like to see labeling of GMO foods. How I got here is not by the arguments of the ballot measure supporters. It was actually the arguments of the opponents. I’m not someone who opposes all genetic modification. First, it’s an important tool that has catapulted biomedical research forward. Insulin, growth hormones, hepatitis-B vaccines, and some cancer…