Monday, March 07, 2005

Wine Forums and Internet Trolls
Still no reply from Kahuna (Ben Stevens) on where he obtained the material for his Worrying research on oxidation ? post on the Mark Squires' BB on

Its getting to the point where you have to begin to wonder if this is not a troll. First, and so far only, post by this individual. Picks a topic sure to incite discussion (e.g. research by a French group showing that high alcohol New World wines do not survive long-term) and posts it on the largest and most active wine forum. It also mentions the effects of closures (natural cork versus synthetic cork), another point that has been hotly debated on eBob in recent times.

The problem is that several of us have tried to find out more about the lead investigator of the study Dr. Jean-Pierre Varoni. But he seems not to have published anything of note. Googling selected phrases from the text of the post by Kahuna also failed to identify anything. Others have pointed out that Jean-Pierre Varoni is very similar to Pierre-Antione Ravoni an associate of Robert Parker, Jr. However this may just be co-incidence.

If it is a troll then it is comforting that very few were taken in by what is quite a well constructed post. The post displays a good level of knowledge regarding the chemistry of redox reactions as they pertain to wine (although it could easily be a verbatim copy from lecture notes or an oenology text book).

More worrying is that if it is not a troll and Kahuna has decided not to return (for whatever reason) and provide the requested link, then Dr Varoni and his study have been poorly served by this individual.

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