TENTATIVE SYLLABUS Chemistry 0821, The Chemistry of Wine
(Please consult http://photon.chem.temple.edu for revisions from any campus computer.)

A Chemistry Department offering as a General Education Course for the College of Science and Technology .

Fall Semester 2011
BE 166, MWF 12:00 - 12:50 PM

Instructor: D. Dalton , BE342, Telephone 215-204-7138; Facsimile 215-204-1532
e-mail: david.dalton@temple.edu; URLs: http://astro.temple.edu/~dalton and http://www.temple.edu/dalton
Office Hours: 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM MWF and other times by appointment


The fermentation of sugars by the action of yeasts (wild-type spores of which are found almost everywhere) appears to be among the earliest recorded experimental observations of humans. A great deal of the early work was accidental and the subject of conjecture but we now know significantly more about the processes involved than our forefathers knew. Indeed, with the development of genomic technologies over the last several decades, some of the wide variety of wine grapes are being investigated in detail and the intimate details of some of what is going on have been made available (see, for example, the data on some of the metabolic pathways known for Vitis vinifera the wine grape, from the Kyoto University Bioinformatics Center [KEGG] to be found by clicking here ). Exciting work on the genome of a highly homozygous genotype of Vitis vinifera has been published and can be found under the heading for this course on http://photon.chem.temple.edu (from any on campus computer).

The work of this Chemistry course will be to investigate the general ideas surrounding the preparation of wine through fermentation sugar in the grape (or other) juice to produce the ethyl alcohol and the concurrent and subsequent chemistry involved in formation of the flavoring constituents (most wines are about 80% water, 12% ethyl alcohol [ethanol], 6-7% varying amounts of about 20 compounds and only 1-2% of a group of hundreds [thousands?] of compounds that lend the unique flavors and aromas that make each wine unique and special).

Some discussion about the value of a bottle of wine, beginning with the vine and the soil in which it is planted, the amount of sun and rain it receives, and through the maturation of the grape, and its subsequent treatment as well as its reception by individuals (aroma, taste, physical response) will be among the aspects addressed. Some of the current understanding brought to the processes involved thoughout by chemistry and her sister sciences will be brought out.


Schedule Note:

In addition to the lecture (MWF 166 Beury Hall 12:00 PM – 12:50 PM) there is a recitation/laboratory for 1 hour per week for which each student must be registered.


The course grade will be based on three examinations (60%), laboratory grade (20%) and end of term team presentation (20%) (plus extra credit opportunities as announced).

Chemistry Department Calculator Policy

The use of programmable and/or graphing calculators on examinations or quizzes is strictly prohibited. The use of simple calculators (i.e., those without keyboards) is allowed only with the permission of the Instructor. The use of PDAs, cell phones, and electronic or paper dictionaries is strictly prohibited.


Students are expected to conduct themselves as adults who are cognizant of their safety and the safety of those around them. Unauthorized experiments utilizing equipment and/or chemicals are not permitted. Participants in this course who are behaving inappropriately or unsafely will not be permitted to continue in the laboratory. Make-up of missed laboratory work will not be permitted. Although most of the chemicals used in this course are no more dangerous than those used in your home, students are required to come to class dressed properly.


Week beginning:



29 August

Course Overview

(a)Complexity/simplicity. (b) The Scientific Method. Testability. Laws. Atoms, Molecules, Conservation. First Paragraph of (i) Amerine and (ii) Borrell, B. Scientific American , 2009 , "Origin of Wine". Read Dickerson, Gray, and Haight, Chapter 1, pp 1-4, 9-13 and Chapter 2 pp 78-82. For a periodic table go to http://www.webelements.com/ or click here.(c) Demo hydrogen + oxygen

5 September

From where does the sugar come? Density. Diet and sugary beverages. Conversion of glucose (and fructose) (sugars) to ethanol (ethyl alcohol) using yeast. First through fifth paragraphs of Amerine.

LABORATORY: Fermentation.

12 September

Why does the yeast die? Some art work. A bit about color and the electromagnetic spectrum. Why is red wine red and white wine white - a beginning? See http://www.101science.com/spectroscopy_links__www.htm or simply click here .

First through sixth paragraphs of Amarine. Read Dickerson, Gray, and Haight, Chapter 6. Are atoms real? Laboratory. Density. Making your own hydrometer.

19 September

Mostly Chemistry. The materials in Chapter 6 of Dickerson, Gray and Haight. And where are we today?

Laboratory, SpartanES Laboratory. Friday, 23 September, Autumnal Equinox, First Exam

26 September

Mostly Biochemistry. The whole first page and the Fermentation equations on the 7th page (page 53 of the Journal) of the "Wine" article by Amerine.

The data on some of the metabolic pathways known for Vitis vinifera the wine grape, from the Kyoto University Bioinformatics Center [KEGG] to be found by clicking here ). A little of the detailed, most complete and current exposition on the Chemistry and Biochemistry of wine, found here and available from on-campus computers.See also work on the genome of a highly homozygous genotype of Vitis vinifera has been published and can be found under the heading for this course on http://photon.chem.temple.edu (from any on-campus computer).

3 October

Identifying molecules. Analytical chemistry. Just so you need not believe what I (or anyone else!) may tell you.

Spectroscopic techniques away from the visible. Infra red, Ultraviolet, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Mass spectrometry. Pure materials? Chromatographic techniques. Demo on TLC, Flame test - Atomic absorption. Components of wine. Adulteration.

10 October

Rates of chemical reactions. Equilibrium (Dickerson, Gray and Haight, Chapter 4). Acids and bases (Dickerson, Gray and Haight, Chapter 5). Why are rates of reactions and acid and base chemistry important to wine.

Laboratory...the Chemistry Department analytical facilities (Mass Spec, IR, NMR)

17 October

The soil, vine and grape. From carbon dioxide to glucose.

What else is in the grape? Amerine page 50. The chemistry in the grape and before crushing.

24 October

Chemistry before the wine bottle and chemistry in the wine bottle, I. Amerine article, pp 49 ff. With or without skins present. Delicious...whose feet (and does it matter?).The role of casks.

Demonstration pH,sulfur dioxide, color. Discussion of astringency, bitterness, compounds and their flavors (and colors). Laboratory on chromatography

31 October

Chemistry before the wine bottle and chemistry in the wine bottle, II. Malolactic fermentation. Should the bottle be left open? For how long? Oxidation kinetics. Microorganisms enjoy wine too. To sulfite or not to sulfite.

Testing our senses. Smells and tastes. And why is that? Second Exam

7 November

Receptors and some biochemistry.

14 November

What is the difference betweeh a $2 bottle of wine and a $2000 bottle of wine? Some of the consequences of over indulgence.

UV Vis. The color of wine.

21 November

Class Presentations*

Three 15 minute presentations/day = nine/week

28 November

Class Presentations*

Three 15 minute presentations/day = nine/week

5 December

Class Presentations.* Review.

*Topics for presentations: (1) The effect of alcohol on the brain; (2) pH and the quality of red wine; (3) Wine spoilage mechanism; (4) Terroir – Soil; (5) Determining alcohol content; (6) When you are under the influence; (7) Making fortified wines; (8) Terroir – Microclimate; (9) Counterfeit wines; (10) Malolactic Fermentation; (11) Detecting blood alcohol levels; (12) Does coffee help (DUI) (13) Botrytized (noble rot) wine; (14) Ice wine; (15) Corked wine; (16) Plastic vs. cork vs. screw top; (17) Champagne; (18) Why green bottles?; (19) Wine and cardiovacular disease; (20) Meals with wine vs. wine without food, blood alcohol levels; (21) Self-versus cross-pollination: Fertility of the grape; (22) Free growing versus managed vineyards: does it matter?; (23) Yeast strains vs. wine quality.

Withdrawal: Students may drop this course on or before 14 September 2009 without penalty. Students may withdraw from this course (Grade of "W") any time up to and through Monday, l November 20lO. The "W" grade is only given in accordance with institutional procedure. The procedure to obtain a "W" grade after l November is governed by the Temple University Policy (#03.12.12) on Withdrawal. Please click here to view the policy.

Incomplete: Please note that an Incomplete ("I") Grade is only given in accord with institutional procedures. The "I" grade cannot be given until the specific requirements have been met and forms filled out, signed and submitted. This course is governed by the Temple University Policy (#03.12.13) on Incompletes. Please click here to view the policy.

Academic Honesty: The contents of this section are from Temple University's current Undergraduate Bulletin in the Students Responsibilities part of Responsibilities section. The web address is http://www.temple.edu/bulletin/Responsibilities_rights/responsibilities/responsibilities.shtm#honesty.

Temple University believes strongly in academic honesty and integrity.

Plagiarism and academic cheating are, therefore, prohibited.

The development of independent thought and a respect for the thoughts of others is essential to intellectual growth. So, the prohibition against plagiarism and cheating is intended to foster this independence and respect.

Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of another person's labor, another person's ideas, another person's words, another person's assistance. Normally, all work done for courses -- papers, examinations, homework exercises, laboratory reports, oral presentations -- is expected to be the individual effort of the student presenting the work. Any assistance must be reported to the instructor. If the work has entailed consulting other resources -- journals, books, or other media --, these resources must be cited appropriately. Everything used from other sources -- suggestions for organization of ideas, ideas themselves, or actual language -- must be cited. Failure to cite borrowed material constitutes plagiarism. Undocumented use of materials from the World Wide Web is also plagiarism.

Academic cheating is, generally, the thwarting or breaking of the general rules of academic work or the specific rules of the individual courses. It includes falsifying data; submitting, without the instructor's approval, work in one course which was done for another; helping others to plagiarize or cheat from one's own or another's work; or actually doing the work of another person. The penalty for academic dishonesty can vary from receiving a reprimand and a failing grade for a particular assignment, to a failing grade in the course, to suspension or expulsion from the University. The penalty varies with the nature of the offense, the individual instructor, the department, and the School or College. Students who believe that they have been unfairly accused may appeal through the School or College's academic grievance procedure.