Oenology - the Science of Wine Making


Jean Cao, oenologist, is the special guest on today's show after a global news review with Sasha Kehoe.

News Review

After a few weeks away it's great to be back in the studio with a long-overdue look-back at the week's / the summer's news with Sasha Kehoe. And it's been a busy summer! Once more, the blond-one, whose name I won't mention here, has his mug-shot across most news feeds, and many more besides too.

Our news review covers everything from the Prigozhin plane crash in Russia to the baby serial killer Lucy Letby in the UK. Wildfires seem to be another consistent summer story in recent years: Hawaii, of course, plus much of southern Europe. Did you watch the cable car rescue in Pakistan? Or the Spain - England World Cup Final?

Back home to Luxembourg, the Schueberfouer begins again, and election season starts with some very young candidates indeed.

Oenology with Jean Cao

I had never heard of oenology until I met Jean Cao. Originally from Mexico, Jean trained as a chemical engineer focussing on organic and food chemistry at UDLA, and then specialising in fermentation and distillation processes.
After some internships in the wine regions of Mexico, Jean moved to France to complete a Masters degree in viticulture-agronomy in Montpellier, followed by another Masters in oenology in Bordeaux. He is currently specialising in pedology and soil analysis.

Jean has worked all over the world - Mexico, South Africa, US, and in the famous French wine-making regions of Saint-Emilion, Medoc-Pauillac, Châteauneuf du Pape and the Languedoc.

Here in Luxembourg, Jean Cao is a consultant oenologist for the Independent winemakers professional organisation OPVI, Organisation Professionnelle des Vigerons Indépendants, since 2018.

From optimal plant cultivation, all the way through to bottling, there are many moments where precision and expertise can help define the outcome for the best potential wines. Jean's role requires the discernment of latent potential inherent within specific vineyard plots, when precisely to harvest, ensuring the fermentation process goes smoothly, which wines to blend in which way, and finally the bottling process.

These steps require the rigour of complex science and nature, plus the uncontrollable factors such as climate and weather. Perhaps the best word to sum up the art of his work is 'terroir'.

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You can tune into Lisa's shows on RTL Today Radio Saturdays at 11am, Sundays at noon and Tuesdays at 10am.