"In 2000, the American Society for Enology
& Viticulture selected Art Caputi, retired vice president
of technical services at the Ernest & Julio Gallo Winery as
its Merit Award recipient because of his significant contributions
to the Society and the wine and grape industry for 50 years. Former
ASEV president and board member for 20 years, Caputi tirelessly
worked to develop and enrich the entire Society as well as the
industry. Jane Robichaud,
President, American Society for Enology &
Sir Isaac Newton once remarked that if he had seen farther than
other men, it was because he had stood upon the shoulders of giants.
While I dont claim to see farther than anyone else, I certainly
have been privileged to stand upon the shoulders of giants. The
shoulders of those giants, Ernest Gallo, Julio Gallo, and Charles
Crawford, were remarkably broad and strong, and they supported
not only me, but hundreds of others as well at the E&J Gallo
A look at the roster of presidents of the American Society of
Enology & Viticulture (ASEV) over the last 50 years will reveal
almost a dozen who worked at Gallo at one time or another. It
would be impossible to be surrounded by individuals of such talent
and ability and not learn something.
In June 1950, as a 15-year-old high school student with an interest
in chemistry, I first stepped into the small laboratory of the
E&J Gallo Winery. Although the facilities were relatively
modest and dedicated primarily to winemaking and analyses, Charles
Crawford (vice president, 19422000) and R.B. Brad
Webb had already instituted a small research program.
Displayed prominently on a wall was a plan for a new and expanded
laboratory that would provide additional space for research work.
The foundation had been laid years before. When they founded the
company, Ernest and Julio Gallo had determined that they would
build the largest winery in the world, and they understood that
technology would play a pivotal role in that endeavor.
Making the dream come true
Much of the technological expertise that existed in the wine industry
prior to 1920 was lost during Prohibition, and precious little
viticulture and enology research had been done anywhere in the
U.S. from 1920 to 1933. Hiring Charles Crawford in 1942 was the
Gallos first step in building the kind of scientific capabilities
they knew would be necessary if their dream was to become a reality.
Crawford graduated from the University of California, Berkeley,
in the same class as many other individuals who would become technological
leaders of the wine industry in the post WWII years, including
Louis M. Martini, (Louis M. Martini Winery), Myron Nightingale
(Beringer Vineyards), Zeev Halperin (Christian Brothers),
and Aram Ohanesian.
Until the viticulture and enology program at U.C. Davis became
firmly established, the Food Science program at UC Berkeley was
the training ground for many scientists who ultimately went into
the wine business. Crawford, an ASEV charter member, past president,
and Merit Award recipient, had a deep interest in research and
the potential it held to help build the winery. Fortunately Ernest
Gallo was of a like mind, and he told Crawford that he considered
research like savings. If you wait until you need it, its
already too late.
Growing quality grapes
in the Central Valley
Ernest and Julio understood something else that would be of critical
importance, not only to Gallo but also to the California wine
industry as a whole that even the most sophisticated winemaking
techniques in the world could not produce a superior wine from
The early table wines Gallo bottled came from Napa and Sonoma
and were of excellent quality. However, if their dream to become
the worlds largest winery was to be achieved, table wine
grapes of good quality would have to be available from the Central
Valley as well. But the grape acreage that survived Prohibition
in this area was generally less than ideal for table wine production.
Although the Thompson Seedless variety was very popular with Central
Valley growers because it could be used for table grapes, raisins,
or dessert wine, it clearly was not suitable for any kind of quality
white table wine.
A similar situation existed for many red varieties that were not
appropriate for good quality table wines. Despite the fact that
dessert wines commanded the greatest part of the wine market after
Prohibition, the Gallos knew that the real future lay with table
wines, and they planned accordingly.
In the early 1940s, they purchased 160 acres near Livingston;
this was the first parcel of what would ultimately become a 5,000-acre
ranch, 4,000 of which are now planted in vineyards. In 1946, a
portion of that vineyard was set aside for evaluation of various
grape varieties. More than 400 selections were planted and experimental
wines were made from each of the varieties for a number of years.
Those that showed acceptable viticultural characteristics and
produced better wines in that region than the varieties then available
But after more suitable varieties were identified, another problem
arose. The task of convincing growers to graft over their lower
quality grapes was formidable, indeed. The Gallos finally accomplished
it in 1967 by guaranteeing growers a minimum price for these grapes
under 10 to 15 year contracts. Now 20 years of research to determine
the best grape varieties for the Central Valley would pay dividends.
That experimental work was the beginning of an active viticultural
research program that continues, in a greatly expanded form, to
Fulltime enological research
Although Crawford and the small group of winemakers carried out
a number of applied research projects as time permitted, the addition
in 1951 of Dr. Ralph Celmer (research director) to the staff as
a full-time research scientist marked the beginning of the formal
enology research effort at Gallo.
We also carried out experiments on accelerated ageing of dessert
wines using oak chips, contact with granulated cork, controlled
oxidation at very low levels of oxygen addition, and many other
In the summer of 1953, after I completed my first year at UC Berkeley,
Crawford asked me to look into improving some of our analytical
methods. It is axiomatic that measuring the effect of changes
made by any kind of process must be undertaken if that process
is to be properly utilized.
Crawford understood the need to improve the scope, accuracy, and
speed of our analyses to provide Gallos winemakers with
more and better information for making key decisions.
Like everyone else, we analyzed titratable acidity by titrating
wine samples in freshly boiled (and still extremely hot) distilled
water to a phenolphthalein endpoint. Direct-reading analog pH
meters had recently become available, and I saw no reason why
such a device could not be employed for this very common and necessary
I also adjusted the normality of the titrant, so the result could
be read directly from the burette without the need for further
calculation. By implementing this technique, we achieved not only
faster and easier analyses, but much more accurate ones, as well.
Over the course of several summers, I implemented several new
analytical methods, including the micro-dichromate method for
alcohol analysis, rapid procedures for aldehyde and fusel oil
analyses, a rapid reducing sugar test for use in our fermentor
laboratory and many others. Development of new analytical methods
has continued to this day, and many procedures we devised have
been published over the last 45 years or so.
Viticulture and Enology
at UC Davis and Fresno State
The technical people at Gallo always have had the utmost respect
for the faculties and staff of the viticulture and enology departments
at UC Davis and Fresno State University. We have sought their
advice and cooperation at every opportunity.
Maynard A. Amerine had been a classmate of Ernest and Julio at
Modesto High School. He obtained his Ph.D. and, with Albert Winkler,
went on to become one of the pivotal figures in the Department
of Viticulture & Enology at UC Davis. The faculty and staff
assembled in that department laid the foundation for several generations
of winemakers and viticulturists who rebuilt an industry devastated
The department was built upon people like Amerine (who would remain
a lifelong friend of Ernest Gallo), Winkler, Harold Hod
Berg, James Guymon, A.D. Webb, Vernon Singleton, Cornelius Ough,
Lloyd Lider, Mark Kliewer, Curt Alley, Amand Kasimatis, Harold
Olmo, George Marsh, James Cook, Hank Nelson, Ralph Kunkee, and
others. They initiated wide-ranging research programs and designed
and taught courses that educated a significant percentage of the
professionals in the wine and grape industries in the second half
of the 20th century.
These individuals did not operate in academic isolation or from
a purely theoretical standpoint. Many had previous industrial
experience, and all worked closely with the industry they were
dedicated to improving. Much of the early research that came out
of the department focused on solving the numerous practical problems
plaguing the industry.
Evaluation of various grape varieties and rootstocks for optimum
performance in different areas of California became an important
element of the departments work, as did Olmos efforts
to breed new varieties that offered valuable characteristics for
certain regions and wine styles.
The department educated the industry about the importance of proper
sanitation procedures and the need for appropriate construction
materials to avoid product contamination by trace materials or
microorganisms. The effects of many factors on fermentation characteristics
and wine composition were studied in detail, and the results immediately
became available to the industry. Amerines work laid the
foundation for the sophisticated sensory analysis used in the
The industry also benefited enormously from a somewhat smaller
but very vigorous viticulture and enology program at (then) Fresno
State College, which began under the direction of the indefatigable
Vincent Petrucci. Some of the states foremost viticulturists
and enologists are graduates of that school, and many alumni of
that institution matriculated at Davis and elsewhere for advanced
The majority of Gallo winemakers and a large number of the research
staff in the past were, and today are, products of these schools.
We have continued to actively interact with the research scientists
at these institutions.
Expansion at the Gallo
By 1957, the time had come to expand the Gallo laboratory and
build an addition devoted exclusively to research. The plans that
had been on the wall even prior to my arrival were not suitable,
and I was asked to design a new facility.
This was the first of three Gallo laboratories for which I prepared
the specifications and then worked with architectural firms and
contractors to produce the final structure. It was, by our current
standards, rather modest, but it provided us with the basic space
and equipment needed to move our research to the next level.
Ralph Celmer had left Gallo at this point, but Lewis Stern (an
early ASEV officer) had joined the company as the chief table
winemaker in the mid-1950s, along with Dimitri Tchelistcheff,
who wore several hats, working as an enologist and in research
developing new products in particular. Celmer developed Thunderbird,
our first flavored special natural wine, and Tchelistcheff conceived
Innovations from the Gallo
Stern was concerned about oxidation of white table wines and asked
B.J. Williams, a microbiologist new to the company, and me to
find a solution. Williams and I located ceramic diffusion tubes
that could be attached to plastic tubing reaching to the bottom
of a bottling tank. We found that when we hooked a diffusion tube
to a cylinder of nitrogen and put it in the tank, it could release
a stream of minute bubbles that would sparge dissolved oxygen
from the wine. Of course, it was then necessary to measure the
amount of dissolved oxygen to enable us to remove only the amount
necessary and to avoid stripping desirable volatile compounds
from the wine.
Although the dichloroindophenol titration used to measure dissolved
oxygen in water was tried, it was cumbersome and incapable of
the accuracy we wanted. I used a dropping mercury polarographic
procedure for this measurement, enabling us to expand our use
of oxygen removal to include carefully controlled nitrogen stripping
when transferring sensitive wines within the winery and from our
Fresno facility to Modesto.
A few years later, the first Clark one-piece polarographic electrode
became available, and we published a paper on its use for the
measurement of dissolved oxygen in wine. It since has become the
standard analytical tool for this measurement in the industry.
By 1956, the principles of gas chromatography (GC) were just reaching
the hands of analytical chemists, but commercial instruments were
not readily available and were prohibitively expensive. I was
reasonably knowledgeable about electronics and fairly adept with
a soldering gun and other tools. I built a gas chromatograph and,
with numerous modifications over the years, it is still in operation
today. It enabled us to separate and quantify trace volatile compounds,
such as the individual fusel oil components of distilled spirits,
which improved our distillation procedures.
A new research director, Robert J. Bouthilet, was hired in 1958,
shortly after completion of the new research lab. Bouthilet hired
a number of new scientists including Dr. Richard Peterson, Karl
Popper, Dr. George Thoukis, and Masao Ueda, and the latter two
are still with the company.
New tools for winemakers
The next decade featured commercialization of a number of processes
new to the wine industry. The late 1950s saw much research on
ion exchange, initially to achieve tartrate stability and later
to provide additional tools for winemakers in treating certain
wines. Karl Popper became the resident expert on these processes
and developed a substantial number of variations on the basic
For wineries bottling wines with small amounts of residual sugar,
pasteurization was commonly used to keep wines from undergoing
fermentation in the bottle. This heating process inevitably had
a deleterious effect on the product, and the industry searched
for a viable alternative.
Sterile filtration was used by several wineries employing asbestos
sheets in plate and frame filters, but the process was cumbersome
and fraught with peril from a microbiological standpoint. Thoukis
discovered that some brewing companies were using membrane filtration
to achieve a sterile product and thought it might have a wine
industry application. A project was set up in 1960 in conjunction
with the Millipore Corporation to apply this technology to our
wine process. By 1961, all of Gallos pasteurizers had been
replaced with membrane filters, resulting in another significant
improvement in product quality.
In 1961, Cornelius Ough and John Ingraham published a paper on
the use of diethyl pyrocarbonate (DEPC) as a possible bottled
wine sterilizing agent. DEPC rapidly decomposes to ethanol and
carbon dioxide after addition to wine, and it has no effect on
sensory properties of the product.
Thoukis, Ueda, and I followed the decomposition rate using radioactively-labeled
DEPC and showed that over 98% of the compound hydrolyzed to ethanol
and CO2. Most of the remaining by-products could be accounted
for as ethyl carbonate and carbomethoxy derivatives, within experimental
error. Since only 100 mg/L or so of DEPC was needed to achieve
sterility in properly filtered wine, it was the perfect complement
to membrane filtration if added just before the bottle was filled.
We had, long ago, found fermentations using indigenous yeast to
be unpredictable, marked by variable sensory properties and the
occasional stuck fermentation. We inoculated juice with selected
yeast strains, but were forced to propagate yeast from a slant
to a small flask of juice and subsequently to larger vessels until
a sufficient quantity was produced to properly inoculate a fermentor.
Intermediate steps included 1-liter, 5-liter, and 5-gallon containers
of sterilized juice before preparation of a 250-gallon starter
tank. This was clearly inconvenient, time consuming, and expensive.
John Castor at UC Davis had demonstrated a number of years earlier
that wine yeast could be produced in a five-gallon aerated fermentor
and harvested as a compressed cake. At about the same time, Dr.
A.M. Adams in Canada described the collection of wine yeast in
the form of small filter cakes that could be stored frozen and
later used as an inoculum for wine fermentations.
Bakers yeast was produced commercially in a similar manner,
so Thoukis developed a joint project with Dr. Gerald Reed of Universal
Foods Corporation to produce wine yeast, first as frozen cakes
then later as a dried product. The dried form could be transported
easily and stored and rehydrated just before use. Thoukis presented
a paper on production and use of compressed yeast at the 1963
ASEV Annual Meeting, and this material has become widely used
in the industry.
The early 1960s saw development and implementation of large-scale
submerged culture production of flor sherry. Although Amerine
and Ough, using pressurized vessels, had demonstrated the principle
on a small scale, we achieved the same effect at atmospheric pressure
in production tanks.
R.L. Nowlin, our chief engineer at that time, suggested the hydrostatic
head in a large tank would provide adequate pressure with a proper
circulation system. Such a system was constructed and worked perfectly.
This period also produced evidence that temperature-controlled
fermentations produced wines of a higher quality, and enormous
amounts of refrigeration capacity were added. With increased use
of stainless steel tanks insulated with urethane foam, wines could
now be stored at optimal temperatures outdoors. The traditional
cellar consisting of wood or concrete tanks in a fully enclosed
building began to disappear.
When low alcohol, lightly carbonated wines were introduced, it
became necessary to devise techniques to reproducibly carbonate
the wines to the desired level and to analyze the CO2 content.
By generating comprehensive CO2 solubility data for various products
and different temperatures, we achieved consistent carbon dioxide
levels in bottling tanks. A number of analytical procedures were
devised, each faster and more accurate than the previous ones.
Almost all were validated and published.
During this period, the first experiments with mechanical harvesters
of our own design were conducted at the Livingston ranch. Although
some positive results were obtained, Julio Gallo felt the resulting
wine was not as good as that produced from the same grapes that
had been hand-picked. As a result, we delayed the acceptance of
mechanically-harvested fruit until the technology became more
Introduction of our first Charmat-process Champagne was hugely
successful, and it became necessary to produce larger quantities
than our initial industry-standard 2,000-gallon tanks could provide.
Crawford and my father, who headed the companys maintenance
and much of its engineering functions, found a couple of surplus
20,000-gallon liquid oxygen tanks from a decommissioned missile
site and felt these could be used as large Charmat fermentors.
I made some calculations to see if we could bottle from these
large vessels isobarically without losing any significant CO2
content. The calculations were favorable, and the tanks were acquired
and installed by my father. They performed flawlessly. Additional
tanks of the same size and even larger were later added.
New facilities, new staff
When Bouthilet left Gallo in 1963, Richard Peterson and I assumed
responsibility for administration of the research department,
and we prepared to move into a large new facility. I worked with
an architectural firm on design of a new building to house the
winemaking, analytical, and research departments.
We moved into the new quarters in May 1969 shortly after Petersons
departure. The engineering and personnel groups initially were
included in the structure as well, but like the company as a whole,
the laboratory expanded rapidly in the 1970s, and those departments
were soon moved to another location.
Tchelistcheff and Popper left about the time of Bouthilets
departure, and we had to find new staff members to carry on the
work. With the move into the new laboratory, people like Dr. Richard
Morenzoni from the UC Davis enology program, Dr. Thomas Wong from
the food science program at UC Davis, and James Peck, one of Maynard
Amerines last graduate students, were added to the research
staff. These individuals became key contributors to research done
in the new building throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and into the
Morenzoni did his graduate work on malolactic fermentation under
Ralph Kunkee and continued his investigation of that process,
but now on a commercial scale. He also worked with commercial
suppliers of yeast to obtain various strains and select particular
ones to optimize different fermentation needs. Procedures were
developed and implemented to measure the viability of incoming
shipments of dried yeast.
Because many of our products were now being sterile-bottled, it
was necessary to put into place even more stringent sanitation
procedures and comprehensive sampling and plating procedures to
ensure all bottled wines were microbiologically stable. These
were all accomplished with advice and direction from Morenzoni,
and he was instrumental in design of microbiological facilities
at all company production locations.
An enormous amount of work went into optimizing protocols for
production of fermentation starters. Morenzonis group used
DNA Karyotypes to follow the characteristics of yeast populations
under various fermentation schemes, demonstrating that the presence
of excessive levels of fluoride caused increased amounts of volatile
acidity and other by-products during fermentation.
Most recently, this group developed microbiological fingerprints
for wines produced at our North Coast facility. Several lots of
wines were made using various combinations of yeast and malolactic
bacteria, and the resulting wines were carefully evaluated. This
led to the current practice of using specific yeast and malolactic
bacteria combinations for wines produced at that winery.
Wong brought a strong background in enzymology, and he identified
enzyme preparations that could improve juice yield, wine filterability,
and optimum color characteristics. He has continued, to this day,
to evaluate new enzyme preparations and optimize their use. With
assistance from a number of other staff members, Wong developed
a cellulose fiber filtering material that was patented and employed
in our filtration process for many years.
His interest in filtration led him and his associates to explore
and implement new membrane technologies, such as ultrafiltration,
nanofiltration, and crossflow filtration. As new materials and
equipment became available, adoption of various uses for these
processes continued throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
Adding a sensory evaluation
Although wine tasting had always been an important aspect of the
companys ongoing commitment to quality, we had no formal
sensory evaluation program or tasting booths until construction
of the new laboratory in 1969. A small sensory area was incorporated
in the design, and the booths were provided with filtered and
conditioned air and red illumination to obscure differences in
wine sample appearances.
Jim Peck, who had extensive sensory training under Amerine, set
up the first trained tasting panels in the building and also carried
out many other research projects.
A variety of projects filled the 1970s and 1980s, many dealing
with regulatory requirements. New waste disposal techniques were
developed and implemented at all corporate production sites.
When the California Air Resources Board suggested winery fermentation
emissions might be a source of unwanted ozone precursors, our
staff worked with other wineries through the Wine Institute to
develop important data on this issue. Much experimental work was
carried out in conjunction with Professor Carlos Muller at California
State University, Fresno, to substantiate the industrys
position that controlling these emissions mechanically was unfeasible.
In the late 1980s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration became
concerned about the presence of traces of ethyl carbamate, a suspected
carcinogen, in fermented foods and beverages. A comprehensive
study was initiated (that continues to this day), in which Gallo
scientists worked with academicians, principally C. S. Ough and
Linda Bisson, to elucidate all the factors involved in the formation
and control of the traces of this naturally-occurring compound.
The first work implicating arginine as a precursor for urea in
wine was done by the Gallo microbiology group and brought to the
attention of UC Davis researchers, who developed it further. These
efforts are typical of the kinds of interaction that exist between
the Gallo technical staff, academia, and the rest of the industry.
By the early 1990s, it became clear that E&J Gallo Winerys
technical needs had outgrown existing facilities. Again, I prepared
specifications for and helped design and staff a new research
building. It was based upon an organizational structure that was
logical at that time, but the facility would be entirely modular
in concept, so it could easily be modified when the need arose.
Adding a chemistry team
A chemistry group, then under Dr. Jeff McCord and now directed
by Dr. Tim Ryan, was charged with investigating the volatile and
non-volatile components of wine and establishing the sensory effect
of each component, singly and in combination. Part of this group
developed specialized analyses and automated routine procedures
for the analytical department. Many robotic procedures have been
implemented for common analyses, and capillary electrophoresis
methods have been developed for analysis of proteins, organic
acids, specific amino acids, and numerous inorganic ions.
Work by the microbiology
A microbiology function was incorporated to supplement the existing
group and provide additional research capabilities for this critical
aspect of the winemaking process. It since has been merged with
the genetics team to form a life sciences group led by Dr. Nancy
A major effort has been directed toward physiological characterization
of wine microorganisms using the BIOLOG microplate system that
measures the growth of microorganisms on various carbon sources.
The pattern of growth is compared to the patterns of type strains
in the database, and the degree of similarity calculated.
We have constructed our own custom databases of wine microorganisms
including Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Hanseniaspora (Kloeckera),
and several others. These databases are being used to build a
picture of the microbial ecology of wine fermentations at Gallo,
which hopefully will lead to a better understanding of the process.
One member of the microbiology group, Dr. Roy Thornton, has a
strong background in classical breeding techniques and has used
these techniques to improve winemaking properties of Gallos
preferred wine yeast strains. The group has collected over 70
Dekkera (Brettanomyces) strains from California and around the
world. They were characterized by BIOLOG and separated into several
distinct physiological groups with a wide range of physiological/biochemical
Research in molecular biology
A molecular biology/genetics group was created to study both plants
and microorganisms at the molecular level. A number of achievements
already have been realized in the area of molecular diagnostics
for vineyard, wine, and juice-related microorganisms. The team
has developed robust, rapid, PCR-based, plus-or-minus molecular
identification tests for a wide range of vineyard pathogens and
wine yeasts, such as Eutypa, Botrytis, Brettanomyces, Zygosaccharomyces,
and Torulaspora, to name only a few.
Tests for six vineyard pathogens have been patented, and tests
for 13 yeast species are in patent-pending status. Because the
tests are rapid, easy to perform, and produce plus-or-minus results,
any technician can easily be trained to use them and interpret
the outcome. The tests have already been successfully transferred
to production microbiology laboratories in several locations,
and implementation of the technology is continuing.
The team working on plant genetics has extensively studied Eutypa,
a dieback disease of grape vines, which affects grape production
around the world and is caused by the fungus, Eutypa lata. The
group obtained and collected 116 isolates of Eutypa species from
grape, cultivated species, and native tree species. They used
Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) to produce genetic
fingerprints and analyzed specific regions of DNA sequence from
The results indicate that there are two species, Eutypa lata and
Eutypa armeniacae, capable of causing this disease. Of equal importance
is the discovery that both of these species of Eutypa can grow
on many native tree species in California, meaning there is always
a ready source of inoculum to further spread the disease.
In addition, information from the DNA-sequence analysis derived
from this research was used to generate diagnostic tools for Eutypa.
A Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) based method was developed that
allows detection of Eutypa in woody vine material long before
symptoms appear. This tool enables researchers to investigate
growth of the fungus in the vine and enables a better understanding
of the disease process. This diagnostic method has been patented
worldwide, and is currently being made available to academic researchers
free of charge.
Some of the initial research within the genetics program involved
investigating the genetic diversity between a number of Vitis
sp., representing native species from North America, and other
species from around the world.
Investigations of wild
Wild Vitis species contain a wealth of germplasm that is a potential
source of genetic material for improving existing cultivated species
of grape. Breeders have used this genetic material via classical
methods to develop rootstocks resistant to Phylloxera and nematodes.
Other rootstocks have been developed that perform well over a
wide range of soil and climatic conditions.
A detailed understanding of the genetic diversity, or relatedness,
between the wild species is an important starting point in utilizing
this resource in a more specific and efficient manner. In our
laboratories, AFLP was used to analyze 66 Vitis accessions representing
18 wild species of grape and compared with Vitis vinifera; the
first time this technique had been used to analyze a diverse group
of Vitis species. Results of this research were presented at the
Sixth International Plant & Animal Genome Conference in 1997.
Genetic relationships observed in our analysis agree with the
current taxonomy and indicate Vitis vinifera is genetically distinct
from both the North American and Asian grape species. In addition,
we identified three major groups of Vitis species that will be
useful in further investigations.
A professional flavorist, Leslie Norris, was added in 1998 to
not only work with the product development department, but also
with the chemistry group to determine if various compounds they
identified as having sensory impact really were responsible for
important tastes and aromas. Her understanding of how flavor compounds
interact and alter their sensory properties with changes in concentration
have been invaluable in this area of research.
The sensory department headed by Dr. Isabelle Lesschaeve ties
all these efforts together. Ten tasting booths are equipped with
computers that are, in turn, linked to a central server utilizing
specialized sensory software. Additional statistical software
permits the construction of preference maps, PCA plots, spider
web diagrams, and numerous other representations of statistically-analyzed
sensory results. The group can provide difference testing, preference
evaluations, coordination with marketing consumer testing, and
Gallos small-scale research winery, which has existed in
various forms since the 1950s, was completely refurbished in 1998.
It was equipped with small stainless steel tanks, many of which
are jacketed and can be accurately temperature-controlled by circulation
of chilled glycol. A computer controls and monitors the status
of these tanks.
Small-scale bladder presses operate under microprocessor control
and can simulate the effects of full-size devices. More than 500
experimental fermentations have been conducted in the research
winery in a single year. The wines produced in this facility permit
us to evaluate various viticultural and winemaking possibilities.
An adjacent pilot plant provides the necessary environment and
equipment for the process development group to explore new technologies
or transfer techniques that have been effective in other industries
and adapt them to Gallos needs.
The research effort that began with a handful of people performing
experiments when time permitted has grown to a staff of over 60
people, including post-doctoral appointees, interns, and trainees.
Virtually all major scientific disciplines are encompassed within
Gallos research and technical services department.
Scientists have been recruited from all over the world to assist
in this effort, now directed by Dr. Terry Lee, who joined the
organization after a distinguished career heading the Australian
Wine Research Institute. All parts appear to be in place to move
the research effort at the E&J Gallo Winery to the next level
of excellence and to help fulfill the vision of the companys
As I prepared this presentation, so many names from years of research
efforts at Gallo came flooding back to me Emil Mrak, Maynard
Joslyn, Rose Marie Pangborn, Walt Jennings, Elie Skofis, and dozens
Some people I have mentioned may not be familiar to the younger
enologists and viticulturists or may just be names they have seen
in old publications. Many have retired; many more are no longer
with us, but they were the pioneers who worked, often in anonymity,
to lay the foundation for the industry we know today. These people
and their work helped shape my career, and whether you realize
it or not, they have helped shape yours.
Art Caputi has formed a consultancy offering expertise
in all facets of winemaking and can be reached by
email or through his website.
Edited from the 2000-ASEV Merit Award presentation in Seattle,
WA, June 2000.