Pennsylvania Names State Enologist
Denise Gardner to replace Stephen Menke in May
Gardner received a bachelor’s degree in food science with a minor in horticulture from Penn State in 2007 and earned a master’s in food science and technology from Virginia Tech in 2009. At Virginia Tech she worked with Dr. Bruce W. Zoecklein (now an emeritus professor) in the area of enology and flavor chemistry. Her research experience at Virginia Tech emphasized the use of food analytical and flavor chemistries including spectrophotometry, enzymatic reactions, electronic nose, SPME GC-MS, GC-O and discrimination and quantitative descriptive sensory analysis.
Following her graduation in June 2009, Gardner went to work as a sensory scientist for Vinquiry, where she designed, prepared, evaluated, statistically analyzed and interpreted wine discrimination/descriptive/preference and cork sensory panels. In addition to consulting with winemakers on enological problems, she designed a wine defects kit for aroma identification, and performed laboratory analysis of juice and wine.
During her student years, she was a vineyard and tasting room employee at 4,000-case Manatawny Creek Winery in Douglassville, Penn., and 5,000-case Mt. Nittany Vineyards & Winery in Centre Hall, Penn. She was also an undergraduate student researcher at the Chemical Ecology Lab and the Plant Pathology Lab at Penn State, and at the Grape Root Physiology Lab at the University of California, Davis.
Gardner told Wines & Vines, “I’m hopeful that I can use my experience in identifying wine defects to enable winemakers to make economical choices in improving their wine quality. My overall goal is to see that Pennsylvania winemakers get credit nationally and globally for the craft wines they produce.”