Maynard Amerine

Jim Gordon
Maynard Amerine

Intelligent and affable, Maynard Amerine was the University of California, Davis', greatest apostle on grapegrowing and winemaking. From 1935, when he was hired as a researcher, until his death in 1998, Amerine spread the word on which vines to plant and where, and how to turn the grapes into outstanding wine.

Born in 1911, Amerine grew up on his family's fruit farm in Modesto, Calif. He was one of Davis' first enology hires after Repeal. Over the next 60 years, he published 16 books, more than 400 scientific papers and dozens of articles in magazines on viticulture and enology. He also cowrote the industry's first authoritative guide to wine tasting, an effort to replace poetic descriptions with a more objective vocabulary. Amerine combined scientific genius with an ability to communicate his ideas, not just to fellow academics, but to grapegrowers, winemakers and politicians. He became a mentor to many of California's best winemakers. Amerine earned Wine Spectator's Distinguished Service Award in 1985. He died in 1998.