Tuesday, January 8

Wine. Science or Art?

by Sandi Zeckel

I’m a scientist, so it should come as no surprise that the way I first began to appreciate wine was by applying my knowledge of chemistry and microbiology in making wines at home.

Sandi in her
wine cellar
Ten years ago, my husband and I traveled to Napa. That trip rekindled my interest in wines. I learned to detect the subtleties between different varieties, vineyards and vintages. 

My education in oenology continued as I visited other wine regions, sampling and talking about the various wines at wineries. In addition to that fateful visit to Napa, we have taken numerous wine trips, including Oregon, Chile, Germany, Niagara on the Lake, Lodi and Sonoma. The learning never ceases.

I discovered the importance of pairing the right wines with individual food dishes right here in Indy from a well-known and well-respected chef, Chef Joseph Heidenrich. By attending his wine-tasting dinners, I learned that a sip of wine alone can taste very different than when it is enjoyed with a meal.

The pairing of food and wine is both a science and an art. Just as a painter finds the right color selections and images to create visual beauty on the canvas, so does the palate enjoy the taste sensations from the right blending of food and wine. It is an art with endless possibilities as wines are always evolving.

Editor's note: The JCC Indianapolis is offering you the chance to enjoy a night of wine tasting and delicious food with Chef Joseph Heidenrich of Chef Joseph's at the Connoisseur Room on January 19 from 7 to 11 p.m. at the JCC. Registration is required by January 11 and is easy to complete at the JCC website

Guest blogger Sandi Zeckel worked in Drug Development at Eli Lilly and Co. for 32 years. Retired in 2011, she now pursues hobbies that include wine, quilting and spending time with her family, including two grandsons. Sandi is a former President of the JCC Board of Directors, and she continues to be active on the boards for the JCC, Congregation Shaarey Tefilla & the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis.

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