378197 Winemaking at West Point

Wednesday, November 19, 2014: 1:38 PM
M106 - M107 (Marriott Marquis Atlanta)
Robert Bozic, Chemistry and Life Science, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY; Chemical Engineering, Columbia University, New York, NY

Inspired by the Korta Katerina Winery, Orebic, Croatia, the book by George M. Taber, Judgment of Paris, about the 1976 Paris wine tasting, and the first venture into winemaking in 2013, the West Point Chemical Engineering Club scaled up its operation, refined the current process, sponsored tastings, and competed in local and national amateur wine making contests as a means by which to enhance the cadet educational experience.  The expansion of wine making was planned, developed, and executed in order to increase interest in chemical engineering and educate chemical engineering majors, prospective students, and parents about chemical engineering.  After a successful venture into winemaking with a ~13 vol% alcohol Pinot Noir wine, the club members scaled from three gallons to five gallons for a Syrah and Cabernet wine.  The initial process was altered to a“4 bucket” press system developed in part by one of the cadets.  Both the Syrah and the Cabernet Sauvignon wines won Bronze medals at the American Win Society Amateur Wine Competition and at Corrado’s Market in Clifton, NJ.  The Syrah wine was also used for a departmental event in which samples were given out as well as questionnaires based on the American Wine Society and the U.C. Davis rating scales.  Emphasis was placed on chemical engineering of each wine making process and how wine is rated. Cadets also learned about the economics of the process.  This project is a highlight in a multi-year successful venture into brewing for the AIChE club and has also contributed to a responsible atmosphere surrounding alcoholic beverages at the Academy for all those involved.

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