University of Science and Technology Beijing




Cultural Event

THE GLASS OF WINE: The intersection of materials science and oenology

James and Penelope Shackelford

The word "oenology" derives from the Greek words oinos (wine) and -logia (the study of). We gather on the Greek island of Corfu to reflect on the central role that one engineered material, glass, plays in the storing, shipping, and consumption of wine. Once produced (through fermentation typically in wooden barrels or stainless steel or concrete vats), wine is transferred to glass bottles for further aging, storage, and shipping to the consumer who will then likely enjoy the wine in glass stemware. Strongly tannic wines might be aerated in glass decanters before drinking to "soften" those wines. While today beer may be commonly found in aluminum cans, soft drinks in both aluminum cans and polymer bottles, and milk in polyethylene-coated cardboard cartons, wine typically sees only a glass surface over its entire journey from the winery to our lips.

The intersection of two multi-billion dollar industries (glass and wine) is the subject of the book, The Glass of Wine, by J.F. and P.L. Shackelford published by Wiley in conjunction with the American Ceramic Society. This presentation will review the historical intertwining of glass and wine along with discussions of the culture and tradition of glass bottle and stemware designs. Such discussions lead to issues of sustainability that further raises questions about the continuing dominance of glass as the material of choice for this popular beverage.

The Authors:

James F. Shackelford, PhD is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at UC Davis. He is a member of the American Ceramic Society and ASM International and a Fellow of both societies.

Penelope L. Shackelford, MA is a former teacher who has served as an arts writer for the Davis Enterprise, Artweek, and other national arts publications and as Associate Editor for Arts for the journal Multicultural Education.