Peynaud on Scientific Advances

“The faster the scientific advances, the greater the risk of widening the gap between what we know and what we do.”

– Emile Peynaud, 1984

Emile Peynaud was one of the winemaking and winetasting and winethinking geniuses of modern times and is my own wine guru. His books, translated from the French, on The Taste of Wine and Knowing and Making Wine were a major factor in my realizing that wine was far more than just a pleasant evening beverage.

As science advances, practice lags behind. If this was true in Peynaud’s day, how much more true is it today? But is it a problem? Science takes time to be communicated — a sort of “trickle-down” effect from the scientists to the practitioners — and more time to be accepted. Along the way, the science is sometimes resolved, refuted, refined, or even revoked. Should we really jump onto yesterday’s new finding before it has had time to sit around and age a bit?

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