MTSU professor Tony Johnston will discuss the growth of the U.S. artisanal distillery spirit and craft brewing industries in an upcoming bilingual, virtual international seminar that will be free and available to the public.
At the Wines and Distilled Spirits of the Americas event, Johnston, director of the MTSU Fermentation Science Program, will appear along with representatives from Peru and Argentina universities.
This seminar is the first major step in internationalizing the MTSU fermentation science degree programs, Johnston said.
“Collaboration with Maza University in Mendoza, Argentina, and San Juan Bautista University in Lima, Peru, capitalizes on the common link between the wine science and wine engineering programs in Argentina and Peru and the MTSU program: fermentation,” Johnston said. “Wines and distilled spirits are all fermented products, and they are important cultural touchstones.”
Johnston said the seminar will allow students to see and hear an example of the types of lectures they may receive as they progress through their degree programs.
“The international nature of wine and distilled spirit production and marketing makes this type of exposure highly valuable for graduates as they enter the worldwide marketplace,” he added. “To my knowledge, this is the first event of its type for MTSU. I’m not aware of any other program that has incorporated faculty presentations and student interaction on a real-time basis. This seminar is, therefore, groundbreaking.”
In addition to Johnston, who has guided the Fermentation Science Program since its beginning in 2017, other speakers include:
• Gina Maria Alexandra Vazallo Valleumbrocio, discussing “Pisco: Culture and Tradition” in Peru. Pisco is a colorless or yellowish-to-amber-colored brandy, made by distilling fermented grape juice into a high-proof spirit.
A researcher and teacher, Vazallo Valleumbrocio has worked in wine cellars in Chile, Mexico and Peru and has gained technical experience via internships in the wine producing regions of Argentina and Italy. She advises associations of wine and Pisco producers in Peru, contributing to the improvement and productive competitiveness of the wine value chain in the Lima region and other regions of the country.
• Miguel Angel Mastropietro, discussing “Malbec in Argentina.” Malbec is a purple grape variety used in making red wine.
Mastropietro works as a winemaker in his own winery, Bodegas Mastropietro, and teaches at Maza University. He is a sommelier of olive oil, speaks Italian as well as Spanish and is an important member of the faculty of the Wine Science and Wine Engineering programs at Maza University.
Johnston and his South American colleagues each have 15 minutes to share information. The final 15 minutes will be a question-and-answer session.
For more information, email Johnston at Tony.Johnston@mtsu.edu. Fermentation science is a School of Agriculture program in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences.
—Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)