skill. Both Jane and Geoff encouraged her to consider becoming an associate judge, starting with the Easter show. “From there it led to the Air New Zealand Wine Awards and that lead to the Winestate Magazine and now to the New World Wine Awards.” Admitting that being a scientist and a wine judge is not the norm when it comes to wine shows, Deed believes she offers something unique. “I have a different perspective on the wines sometimes, in terms of faults and balance. I can see the skill of the winemaker and what they have used to make the wine from a scientific perspective, and having the methodical approach of a scientist translates well to wine judging.” While all judges are able to pick up faults that may be within a wine, Deed says she tends to label them slightly differently than others might. “They may say it has a certain
character and I can say, well it is from this, so it’s a nice way to bounce off each other.” If her being a scientist brings a different perspective to the wine shows, being a judge has given her an equally different perspective to her role as a scientist. “I think I see the wines, not just in terms of the science behind them, but also I can include details about style and what that means for a wine in scientific papers as well.” Her new role may also throw up a number of research projects that may not have come to mind prior to being a senior judge. Such as; what is it about sulfides that can make or break a good Chardonnay? “I am currently researching the formation of dimethyl sulfide in whites, which is considered to be a negative off-flavour, but it would be interesting to study other sulfides that contribute to more of a positive complexity in the way of flinty, popcorn charac-
A science background leads to wine judging, for Dr Rebecca Deed.
NZ WINEGROWER OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2017 // 55