Thursday, 26 May 2016

Introduction


A gourd of red wine and a sheaf of poems —
A bare subsistence, half a loaf, not more —
Supplied us two alone in the free desert:
What Sultan could we envy on his throne?
                                                        —Robert Graves


Calabash Palm Wine Gourd
from Cameroon

The wine world is full of opinions; and the blogsphere is full of opinions. It is therefore not unexpected that there are countless blogs offering opinions about wine. Some of these opinions are interesting, and some are informative.

However, behind these opinions is a world of information, showing how the world actually is, rather than how we perceive it. Sometimes these data are hidden and sometimes they are in full view. Either way, I figure that we could do worse than have a look them.

As a scientist, I am interested in exploring the data, rather than reading opinions about it. Data are often fascinating, sometimes they are controversial, and not infrequently they challenge received opinion.

So, in the interests of doing something different to everyone else, this blog will delve into the world of wine data. My intention is to ferret out some of the interesting stuff, and to bring it out into the light, for everyone to see. In particular, I have noted that many (if not most) research studies about wine do not show us an actual picture of their data. So, I would like to do this, rather than provide some theoretical assessment of those data.

At heart, I guess that I want to compare the opinions that people hold to the underlying data (the "facts", as the media naïvely like to put it). Naturally, there will also be opinions of my own along the way. However, I am hoping that the primary interest will be in the information itself, and the use of exploratory data analysis to look at it.

The source for the name of the blog will be obvious to anyone who knows how to say "vineyard" in Swedish.

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