Gavin Sacks

Associate Professor

343 Stocking Hall
(607) 592-1504

My research and teaching interests are in understanding the enological and viticultural parameters that shape wine flavor from vine to bottle. I am actively involved in the development of the Research and Teaching components of the new Enology and Viticulture program at Cornell.

Research Focus

The Sacks lab studies: Understanding effects of pre- and post-harvest factors on the organoleptic properties (flavor; color) of agricultural products, particularly wines and juices. Developing rapid and sensitive analytical techniques for measurement of flavor compounds.

Outreach and Extension Focus

Although I do not have a formal extension appointment, there is considerable overlap of my research and teaching interests with the practical problems of the statewide/regional wine and grape industries. I am a regular participant at winemaking workshops and industry technical conferences in New York State and elsewhere in the US.

Teaching Focus

I am currently Director of Undergraduate Studies and chair of the undergraduate teaching committee for the interdisciplinary enology and viticulture major (VIEN).

I also teach two courses as part of the VIEN major, cross-listed with Food Science (FDSC)
- Wines & Grapes: Analysis and Composition (FDSC 2400 / VIEN 2400, 3 cr) – intermediate-level undergraduate course on common and emerging analytical practices in the grape and wine industries
- Wine & Grape Flavor Chemistry (FDSC 4400 / VIEN 4400, 3 cr) – upper level course on flavor chemistry, primarily through the lens of wine

Finally, I oversee the undergraduate viticulture and enology Capstone Experience through VIEN 4000.

Awards and Honors

  • 2014 Best Viticulture Paper in American Journal of Enology and Viticulture (2015) American Society of Enology and Viticulture

Selected Publications

Journal Publications

  • Acree, T. E., Williams, R. C., & Sacks, G. L. (2011). The Flavor Chemistry of Riesling. Advances and Challenges in Flavor Chemistry & Biology. 1:106-111.

Presentations and Activities

  • The perception of Riesling varietal character: the role of 2,2,1-trimethy-dihydronapthalene (TDN). Weurman Flavor Science Symposium. September 2011. Ad Hoc committee. Zaragoza, Spain.
  • History Of Cornell Enology Outreach. New York Wine Industry Workshop. April 2011. Cornell University.
  • Defining Typicity in Cool Climate Rieslings. Wine Active Compounds. March 2010. UNESCO Chair of Wine and Culture. Beaune, Burgundy, France.