Wine (was Coal /YEC - Gastaldo Critique I)

Vandergraaf, Chuck (
Tue, 28 Apr 1998 01:08:03 -0400


You write:
> As I've told you before, I do not know how old the earth is. Supernova
> SN1987A strongly implies, using trigonometry and the speed of light,
> that the universe is at least 160,000 years old. So far, so good - it's
> old. BUT, the wine Jesus created at Cana (John 2:1-11) had the
> characteristics of age when it was only a few minutes old. THEREFORE,
> things which appear old are not necessarily in fact old. Consequently,
> I do not take a position on the age of the earth.
I'm not so sure we can apply the same argument to the apparent age of the
wine in Cana as to the age of the earth. From my perspective as a chemist,
wine is "simply" a mixture of water, alcohol(s) and other organic compounds,
and perhaps some colloidal material (the wine I make sometimes has more
colloidal material in it that I like! ;-)). With our advanced instrumental
techniques, we can now pretty well identify the components that make up a
wine (I don't think we're quite there yet, but you get the idea). Thus it
is not inconceivable that an organic chemist could synthesize a wine that
has the same characteristics as a vintage wine (although I would probably
not want to drink it). What we cannot do, as far as I am aware, is "age
date" a wine (except perhaps, in principle, by Carbon-14 and tritium dating
but the wine would probably be too young for the former technique). Maybe
I'm off base here (not being a expert on wine), but I think that the only
way we can tell how old a wine is, is to look at the label on the bottle.

To me this is quite different from age dating rocks and rock formations. In
geology, we see sequences that hint at processes. To apply that to a wine
would mean that we would have the vats in which the grapes had been crushed,
the fermenting vessel, samples of the residue etc.

I hope I got my point across. I loom forward to your response or that from
any physicist or chemist.


Chuck Vandergraaf