Book traces origins of wine

Who made the first wine, and where? How do so many flavors and aromas come from grapes? What did ancient wine taste like, and what does the future hold for wine lovers?

Journalist Kevin Begos, a former MIT Knight Science Journalism Fellow and former AP Correspondent, was inspired to seek answers to these questions after a chance encounter with an obscure vintage made near Jerusalem. He began investigating the mysterious vineyard and quickly found himself caught up in a viticultural detective story—complete with false leads, DNA evidence, and rare grapes hidden in remote valleys and plains across the world.

Begos quickly realize how little he and many other oneophiles understood the origins of wine, and set out to find the history. The result – his book, Tasting the Past: The Science of Flavor & the Search for the Origins of Wine.

Among the many insights readers will learn from Begos’ extensive research and in-depth interviews:

  • How scientists are decoding grape DNA (much like they did when mapping the human genome) to chart the family tree of wine.
  • How DNA analysis, mass spectrometry, liquid chromatography, and other high-tech tools are helping winemakers rediscover rare native grapes and rescue them from the brink of extinction.
  • How archaeobiologists in Milan brought Leonardo da Vinci’s lost vineyard back to life.
  • How scientists in Israel are rediscovering native grapes of the Holy Land.
  • How some wineries are creating synthetic wines—made without grapes—to replicate expensive bottles.
  • Recommendations for wines that go far beyond the endless bottles of Chardonnay and Merlot found in most stores and restaurants.

Tasting the Past: The Science of Flavor & the Search for the Origins of Wine  chronicles Begos’s journey along the original wine routes- starting in the Caucasus Mountains, where wine was first domesticated 8,000 years ago, then down to Israel and across the Mediterranean to Greece, Italy, France, and finally to America, where vintners are transforming local wine culture by cultivating heirloom grapes with new, diverse flavors.

The combination of history and science makes for a crisp tome with an impressive finish. 

Diane Ako

Peace of mind By Diane Ako I like to reflect on life. Sometimes it’s philosophically. Sometimes it’s humorously. For all its beauty, life is far too difficult a journey to take alone. You need the support and connection with others to help carry you along the way. Writing brings me that connection– within and without. It clarifies my thoughts and feelings. It helps me reach out to others for advice, wisdom, or feedback. Your thoughts become your actions. Your actions become you. A wise yogi- Patanjali- said, “Speak what is true. Speak what is pleasant.” Let’s speak of things pleasant to one another and seek some peace of mind along the way. ABOUT Diane Ako joined Hawaii: In Real Life in October 2016. She likes being part of a community of local bloggers – people who like writing and sharing, like she does. Ako is an anchor/ reporter at Island News (KITV4 – ABC) in Honolulu. She previously anchored and reported at KHON2 (FOX) and KHNL (NBC), and at stations in California, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania, In between news jobs, in 2017, she launched and ran her own p.r. company, Diane Ako PR. From 2010-2014, she headed the public relations department at Halekulani Corporation, which oversees luxury resort Halekulani and boutique hotel Waikiki Parc. She’s been blogging since 2009 – before Hawaii: IRL, she wrote for The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the state’s largest daily newspaper, where her stories garnered a dozen journalism awards and an Emmy nomination. Ako has a BA in Communications from Menlo College and an MA in Political Science from University of Hawaii at Manoa. One day, she might figure out how to put that master’s degree to use.

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