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I believe that, based on my experience, it takes curiosity. The trigger is the insatiable desire to gather knowledge. So, curiosity is really the engine that drives you to discover what you can do.

Professor Attilio Scienza

Every Friday Stevie Kim and Professor Attilio Scienza field questions from Vinitaly International Academy community members on the Italian Wine Podcast. In podcast episode 328 Stevie and the professor took a question from Gianluca Queiroli near Boston. Gianluca essentially asked the professor what it would take for someone to become the next Scienza. You never know what you're going to get when these two are in the podcast booth and the tape is rolling. It's Everybody Needs a Bit of Scienza! Listen to the original recording of Italian Wine Podcast Episode 328 and, if you're around Ashland, Massachusetts, drop in to check out Wine Empire. Gianluca, himself, helped translate and summarize Professor Scienza's response to his question, below.

About Gianluca

Gianluca Queiroli is the Owner of Wine Empire in Ashland, Massachusetts, USA. He's also a Vinitaly International Academy (VIA) Ambassador and Educator.

Translation/Summary by Gianluca Queiroli

Stevie Kim: So, basically, he wants to become you, Attilio.

Attilio Scienza: Sì.

SK: So give him an answer!

AS: It’s not an easy answer to give.

I believe that, based on my experience, it takes curiosity. The trigger is the insatiable desire to gather knowledge. So, curiosity is really the engine that drives you to discover what you can do.

The researcher is someone, as the word suggests, that researches, but you need motivation, and the fundamental instrument of motivation is knowledge.

What are the sources of knowledge? In recent years, we all have acquired a sectorial and specialized knowledge; we studied vines, wines, marketing etc. But we never took into account the implications of all these different types of knowledge. We have been given priority to a deeper, specific form of knowledge without first gaining a more generalized understanding of the world.

For example, in the last phase of my career I realized the studying wine and the vines could not disregard the field of anthropology. I could not explain why a particular grape variety is grown in a specific place (or why that wine is made that way in that specific place) without having the instrument of anthropology. From classic anthropology to a futuristic one, all have contributed to understanding the reasons why, in a particular environment, certain grape varieties existed and represented a realization and implementation of myths by mankind.

Climate conditions have changed over the course of the last 10,000 years, especially in Europe, and grape varieties have moved. But they continued to be linked to certain populations like a totem.

But why has the population gathered around this totem? Why was this totem represented by a particular grape variety? Because that grape variety represented their ideal or myth. That grape variety was linked to that specific site because it was producing that specific wine that was born and living inside that population, it was not a random event!

We can’t understand viticulture or oenology of a place if we don’t perform an in-depth, anthropological analysis of the origins of that form of viticulture. It’s important, nevertheless, to learn biochemistry, physiology, genetics, and chemistry; but if the anthropological basis is lacking it would be very difficult to provide a logic link, an interaction. All that we have learned and all the knowledge we have acquired are explained by this anthropological approach.

SK: So, Gianluca, not sure if this is the answer you were looking for. But you will have to study anthropology, you will have to become an anthropologist beforehand! This is the key.

AS: Exactly! Unfortunately, in our scientific studies, we have not prioritized an anthropologic and literary culture. We study very well soils, climate, genetics, but we don’t study the interpretation of the reality provided by anthropology, or cultural or literary knowledge of a specific place or wine.