Maynard Amerine

Definition - What does Maynard Amerine mean?

In the context of notable viticulturists, Maynard Amerine was a plant physiologist who pioneered scientific research methods to revive the vines of California after they had been abandoned during prohibition. Amerine was the Department Chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California at Davis from 1957-1962. His career in viticulture spanned 60 years, and he published more than 400 scientific papers, 16 books and wrote hundreds of articles about all aspects of wine growing and production. His research and study focused on plant biology, enology, sensory perception and the effects of climate on wine grape growing. His work is still relevant today and helped to shape the post-prohibition Californian and US wine industries and international wine culture.

Born on October 30, 1911, Maynard Amerine died on March 11, 1998 at the age of 86 of natural causes in his St. Helena home in California.

WineFrog explains Maynard Amerine

At the end of Prohibition, California vineyards struggled to regain their former vibrancy and harvests until Maynard Amerine was hired to bring the vineyards back to full production. He applied scientific principles of viticulture, enology and studies on climate to wine growing, as well as replanting and grafting to improve the quality of the vines and grapes. He is credited, along with Dr. Albert J. Winkler, with developing the Winkler Scale during the 1940’s; the Winkler Scale defines wine growing regions based on climate.

After revamping the California vineyards, Amerine consulted with wine grape growers internationally to help them optimize their climate to grow wine grapes best suited to their region. His books, The Technology of Wine Making and Wines: Their Sensory Evaluation, written with mathematician Edward B. Roessler, are considered hallmarks of viticulture and wine tasting. His work on the sensory experience of wine shaped and developed the vocabulary and organization of wine tasting based on the charecteristics of the varietal that could be smelt and tasted in the aroma, bouquet and on the palate.

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