How Wine Became Modern


Last week, my roommate and I went to the exhibit “How Wine Became Modern” at the SFMoMA, and I think the only way I could have enjoyed it more was if they’d actually served wine (and seriously, they should have, that would have been awesome).

From winery architecture to terroir and dirt to labels, the exhibit covered such a range of topics related to the wine world that there was something for everyone, and it was un-pretentious enough to appeal to wine-novice but in-depth enough to still be educational for the wine-lover.

A few high points:

  • The wall of modern labels categorized by theme– funnn to explore. Also made me pretty sure some of the labels we’re about to put out for some of our projects are going to crushhh it. So excited.
  • The smelling wall– wine in little beakers with atomizers that you squeeze to get a whiff of the wine, with accompanying descriptions of what you’re smelling (see pics above). Super interesting!
  • Wine additives– Ok, I felt majorly naive when I saw this display. I had NO idea that winemakers used fake red/purple coloring and oak chips and all kinds of other freaky things to “enhance” wines. It’s totally legal! There was a quote next to the display from a winemaker saying that she wishes wine labels were required to list everything in the bottle, because very few would be able to say”100% wine from grape juice.”
  • Animated infographics– I was super impressed with the infographics. There was one about a NASA and Robert Mondavi-developed “precision viticulture” system that uses satellites and all kinds of crazy stuff to keep track of each section of each vine. The other big infographic showed the wine-producing regions of the world, why they are where they are, and how they’ve shifted over time.
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