Evaluate Wine's Chemical Makeup at a Tasting with a Chemist

Learn the chemical compounds that are linked to the smells and tastes in specific wines at this tasting.

Evaluate Wine's Chemical Makeup at a Tasting with a Chemist
  • Erik Strait is a chemist-turned-sommelier with a nerdy wine side
  • Understand chemicals like the one that gives Cabernet a bell pepper aroma
  • Enjoy an in-depth tasting that will describe all the “need-to-knows”

That bell pepper nose on your glass of Cabernet? That’s 2 methoxy 3 isobutylpyrazine. Try saying that three times fast! As it turns out though, these chemicals are an integral part of whether you like a specific wine or not, and learning about them is basically a grown-up (and much more fun) version of high school science class.

Erik Strait has been nerding out over wine compounds since his first bottle of 1997 Domaine Dujac, Clos de la Roche. After tasting this rare wine, he decided it was time to trade in his lab coat for a suit, and quickly made the switch to sommelier. But he didn’t totally forgo his “chemical” dependence on science. Instead, he switched focus from computing things like “the probability densities for hydrogen-like atoms,” to studying the chemistry in your glass.

Which works in your favor if you’re someone who loves to understand the particles that make up different things, especially deliciously tasty things like wine. On this experience, you'll start with a champagne and then move through a series of hand-selected wines with Erik and his lab book. Erik will go into detail about how to professionally assess things like tannin, acid, alcohol, and residual sugar, as well as identify different chemical structures.

He’ll also serve up some tapas-style plates and describe (scientifically, of course) why certain wines work better than others when pairing. Afterward, you’ll walk away with a bound copy of Erik’s lab book to keep your nose on its toes after this completely unique tasting.


Meet the Host

Erik Strait - Sommelier, Chemist

Erik Strait

Sommelier, Chemist

Erik Strait’s not your average sommelier. While most sommeliers can tell you info like where the wine came from, whether the vintage year is any good, and if it’ll pair well with your steak or salmon, Erik can tell you the exact chemical makeup of a great bottle. It’s a skill that not a lot of...

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