By Paula Silva
Believe me, your question is my question! Why does an assistant professor of histology decide to have a blog about Science and Wine? When I first had this idea, it was the question that haunted me night and day. In my daily life, it is very difficult to have time for myself. I teach, I do research work, I have management responsibilities in my university, I have a beautiful family of five. Really, do I need more work? Isn’t my life exciting enough? Do I need more challenges? Well, I believe that one of the most crucial things for progress and evolution is sharing knowledge, and I found that this is the reason why I’ve decided to create this blog. To have a free space where scientific advances in the field of wine can be shared amongst the scientists, winemakers, wine tasters and by all those who enjoy wine, and want to “sip” unbiased information about it.
In the academic world, we can spread scientific information through different means: in the classroom, at conferences, through papers…But, in my opinion, most of the scientific information does not arrive, or arrives in a biased way, to genuine users of that information. Why wine? Wine was always one of my passions. During my youth, I used to work in grape harvesting to earn money for my holidays. In fact, I’ve always lived surrounded by people associated to wine and I have always wanted to do something in this field. In 2015, I decided to do research about the influence of moderate wine consumption on chronic diseases. Since then, I have been studying a lot about this issue, I have attended lectures, conferences, workshops and I have started to do lab work about it.
In 2017, I challenged the University of Porto (U.Porto) to organise a conference entitled “Science & Wine – from terroir to glass”. The organising committee gathered people from U.Porto and from Port and Douro Wine Institute (IVDP) and focussed on some of the most important topics related to vine and wine: terroir, viticulture, winemaking, sensory evaluation, marketing and health (https://ciencia-vinho2017.up.pt/en/). It was a huge success, and at the end people asked for more. This blog is also a way of answering those requests. Science & Wine blog will be coordinated by me, but it will also be built by everyone and anyone who wants to share scientifically established information about wine. One of the posts is called “Monthly Assignment Challenge”, in which a researcher writes about something and nominates another one to write the post of the following month. In this challenge, the most important thing is to leave an open question that must be about wine, not necessarily in the expert area of the researcher who nominates. Professor Daniele Del Rio gave me the honour of being the first one. The blog will likewise have information about scientific journals, conferences, workshops and scientific papers in the wine area. Readers opinion is very important and people are encouraged, in different contexts, to give their opinion. Together we will be a team. I propose a toast to 2018 and to this project.