On January 31st, following the annual Unified Wine & Grape Symposium (held up in Sacramento), The American Society for Enology and Viticulture will honour Dr. Ann C. Noble for her extensive contribution to the world of wine. During Dr. Noble's 30 year tenure at UC Davis, she conducted key studies in sensory science.
Dr. Noble also invented the Wine Aroma Wheel, a tool that helps wine tasters identify and describe aromas and smells, aiding in the enhancement of the tasting experience. The first woman faculty member at UC Davis's Department of Viticulture and Enology, since retirement Dr. Noble has remained active in the wine industry; selling the Aroma Wheel, judging at wine competitions and giving seminars on wine tasting.
I briefly met Dr. Noble when she visited TWWIAGE with an international group of Masters of Wine. Finding myself alone in the staff kitchen with a complete stranger I offered her a cup of coffee and began to make small-talk. My kitchen-companion asked me where I was from? What I did at the winery? Where did I go to school? The usual stuff. In return, I asked her what she did for a living, etc. She answered that she was retired now, but had done "a little bit of work on sensory evaluation." It was at that point that I noticed she was holding a stack of the aforementioned Aroma Wheels. Quick, me.
Well deserving of recognition for her commitment to educating others about wine (she obviously loves all things wine), I also happen to believe that Dr. Noble deserves an award for modesty. Nice lady.