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Wine and Dine: SFC Midwest Meeting

Posted: May 2, 2007

The Society of Flavor Chemists (SFC) held its 368th meeting on April 19 at the Cincinnati Airport Marriott, Hebron, KY, with over 100 attendees. As always, the event successfully served as an arena to hold the SFC board and business meetings, an educational venue for attendees, and, of course, a networking/social occasion for flavorists and others in the industry. After the morning SFC business meetings, the Chemical Sources Association (CSA) held a technical meeting, with presentations by Fontarome, Moore Ingredients and Oxford Chemicals. Fontarome highlighted its heating and cooling sensates, while Moore featured a few of its certified organic and fair trade isolates (including black tea and spearmint distillates). Oxford presented three new tropical ingredients: 3-(acetylthio)hexyl acetate, 3-mercaptohexyl butyrate, and 3-thiohexyl hexanoate.

Directly following the CSA technical meeting, the SFC educational program began with Bruce Chassy (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign) presenting on “Transgenic Crops in Agriculture: Facts, Fictions and the Future of GMOs.” While not directly related to the day-to-day job of a flavorist, it is important for the industry to understand the fears that consumers have about GMO crops, one of which is the idea that GMO crops aren’t “natural.” Following Chassy, Dolf De Rovira (Flavor Dynamics Inc.) led a “Hands-On Sensory Exploration of Four Varietal Wines.” Attendees sampled four different wines (chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and muscat), rating each one based on the following 11 flavor characteristics: fruity, spicy, floral, microbiological, sherry, chemical, earthy, woody, caramel, nutty and herbaceous/vegetative. De Rovira collected everyone’s ratings and will be making a flavor spider diagram for each wine.

The social part of the event began with the cocktail hour at 5:30, which led into the dinner. Following dinner, Julian Herszage (UC Davis) presented on “Wine Flavor, from Vine to Wine.” Herszage explained how the flavor and aroma of wine is determined by factors such as weather, soil type, grape variety, viticultural practices, aging and storage, in addition to consumer perception. He also described the analytical and sensory tools and techniques available to the flavor chemist for use with wine.