Tim's Wine

‘In the name of science’: Twelve bottles of wine are sent to the International Space Station so effects of microgravity on the aging process can be studied

by Timothy Varan on Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Reposted from the www.dailymail.co.uk/ Written by: By STACY LIBERATORE

Astronauts aboard the International Space just received a case of wine that is out of this world. A Luxembourg-based wine company launched 12 bottles of red wine to the craft that will be aged for an entire year ‘in the name of science’. Researchers are set to study how weightlessness and space radiation affect the aging process, with the hopes of developing new flavors and properties for the food industry.  The wine will not be consumed by the crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS), but will be used in an experiment into how microgravity affects wine’s aging process, Techcrunch reported.

While there are 12 bottles in space, the wine company has donated another 12 bottles for researchers to study on Earth – allowing them to compare the batches after the year. Both the samples on the ISS and on Earth will remain sealed and kept at 64 degrees Fahrenheit. And the researchers have predicted that the two batches will taste different at the end of the experiment.

The red wine was just one of a few odd items launched to the space station on Saturday from Allops Island, Virginia, U.S., by aerospace company Northrop Grumman by the European startup Space Cargo Unlimited. The care package, weighing about four tons, also includes sports car parts and a baking oven and cookie dough to make chocolate chip cookies. Astronauts aboard the ISS will test the ‘Zero-G’ oven by baking chocolate chip cookies from dough that was sent into space by Hilton Double Tree earlier this year.  Astronauts have never baked before aboard the ISS, only warming food with an existing ‘oven’ – they usually avoid food that produces crumbs that may float around the cabin and cause problems. Typical ovens rely on the convection of hot air to evenly warm the food, meaning adaptations must be made for the ISS’s microgravity kitchen.

Hilton, which created the oven in partnership with New York company Zero G Kitchen, said: ‘In a typical convection oven on Earth, there is a continuous cycle of hot air rising and cool air moving in to replace it, setting up a constant flow of air in the oven called a convection current that allows for even cooking. However, the International Space Station (and space in general) is a microgravity environment, so there is no “up” direction for the hot air to float towards – meaning, we can only depend on heat being conducted through the air.’

A NASA ground controller called it a ‘good launch all the way around’ on Saturday. Other newly arriving equipment will be used in a series of NASA spacewalks later this month to fix a key particle physics detector.

Vineyards Can Help Stop Fires

by Timothy Varan on Sunday, November 3, 2019

Many customers have asked about the effect of fires on the wineries in Sonoma County this past month. This is a repost from an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on October 29th, showing that the vineyards do not generally burn and actually help the fire fighting effort.

While the Kincade Fire raged through the Alexander Valley on Thursday, Ken Wilson waited anxiously to learn the fate of two wineries and a ranch he owns in the famed wine growing region.

Early Sunday morning, Wilson received devastating news: Soda Rock Winery, which he and his wife Diane have owned for 19 years, had been reduced to ash. But at Wilson’s other Alexander Valley winery, deLorimier, something amazing had happened. “The fire burned right to the edge of the winery,” said Wilson, who had gone to deLorimier on Friday to assess Kincade’s initial damage. “Just all the way to the front driveway.” Wilson knew the reason it did not spread further – his grapevines.

“Basically, it burned to the vineyards and then stopped,” he said. “The vineyards did a good job of stopping the advance of the fire.” He was observing a phenomenon that other vintners throughout California have been witnessing repeatedly over the past few years: Grapevines are natural fire breaks. And though they are not capable of stopping a fire like Kincade in its tracks, they may be saving structures and even lives. “The vineyards – if the vines are well kept and if they’re not letting grass grow underneath the vines – have been helping us as fire breaks,” said Cal Fire deputy chief Scott McLean. “It’s not night and day. Keep in mind these fires have seen dramatically strong winds. But we can definitely fight fire off of these vineyards, using them as anchor points.”

What is it about vines that helps combat fire?

“Vines are green and full of water,” said S. Kaan Kurtural, UC Davis professor of viticulture and oenology. “With the amount of water they can hold in their tissue, they become an oasis in a hot environment.” Sounds simple enough. But if all it takes to stop a fire is a living plant, then why don’t trees do the trick? “Forests have a lot of underbrush, so there’s a lot of fuel for a fire underneath the canopies,” Kurtural said.

Vineyards, by contrast, are well manicured. Aggressive pruning and leaf trimming regimens remove extraneous vegetation. By the time wildfire season hits, most grape growers have tilled their cover crop – the beneficial plants, such as rye and barley, that grow between rows of grapevines – which removes yet another burn risk. Unlike forests, most vineyards are irrigated regularly, keeping that inner tissue moist. By the time the Kincade Fire hit Alexander Valley, most of the region’s grapes had recently been picked. Farmers usually give their vines a big irrigation drip after harvest, so the valley was likely full of well-sated vines.

The layout of vineyards also helps. The typical California vineyard is densely planted and relatively uniform, acting like an infantry in tight, close formation. It’s hard for a fire to break through that army of standing water.” In this case, the monoculture is what makes them special,” Kurtural said.

So far, vineyards have seemed to be micro-breaks, not macro-breaks. They may save individual structures, but they seem unlikely to change the overall course of a large wildfire. And they’re helpless to defend when fires jump – which happens when wind carries burning material beyond the main fire, igniting a spot fire. That was the case with the Kincade Fire, which jumped early Sunday morning to the west side of Highway 128, where it met Soda Rock.” We take everything into account when we’re fighting these wildfires,” said McLean. “Natural boundaries, natural borders, natural defenses. A vineyard is one less thing that burns.”

Can vines ever burn?

It’s possible but, according to Kurtural, unlikely. What does burn are the plastic irrigation lines, which hang near the base of vines. A vine would have to be exposed to heat for a very long period of time in order to desiccate and burn, and fires often move too fast for that to happen. Kurtural suspects that vines’ firefighting capacity may be enhanced as these natural disasters occur. “We’ve taken a lot of measurements of vines during these wildfires,” finding that the plants sometimes cease to perform photosynthesis due to the excess carbon in the air and the lack of sunlight from prolonged smoke, he said. “They certainly are confused, and they can’t photosynthesize. So all the water stays in the tissue,” Kurtural said. “That might be one of the reasons they’re so good at stopping the fires.”

The Brave New World of Tariffs

Friday, November 1, 2019

In September the World Trade Organization (WTO) announced that the US was justified in imposing $7.5 billion dollars in tariffs against some European Union countries.  This is in response to what the US argues are unjustified subsidies that the same EU … Continued

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Seven new grapes approved in historic Bordeaux AOC vote

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

As a national heatwave loosened its grip for a few hours Friday morning, the Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur wine producers’ syndicate unanimously approved the use of seven new grape varieties. The move can be seen as an historic climate change … Continued

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Crazy Case Sale June 28-30th
Orange Avenue Store Only

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Don’t miss our the semi-annual Crazy Case Sale!  This one promises to be bigger and better than every before, with almost 400 cases ready to go to new homes.    The way this sale works is as follows.  The left side … Continued

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Highlights from a Glorious Trip in Tuscany

Thursday, October 4, 2018

For those who follow me on Instagram (@timswinemarket) and FaceBook (@timswinemarketorlando) you probably saw the amazing trip I helped to host in Tuscany, along with Art in Voyage (@travelinstyle).   We stayed at Villa Laura, which is the farm restored … Continued

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