ASEV Platform

A Tribute to One of ASEV’s Greats: Dr. Vernon Singleton

Dr. Vernon Singleton

On August 26, 2016, the Society felt the loss of one of its most influential members, Dr. Vernon L. Singleton. Spanning 34 years at the University of California, Davis, his work in wine phenolic chemistry has left a legacy that continues to shape the wine and grape industry today. Please click here for Dr. Singleton’s obituary.

Speaking at an ASEV Symposium celebrating Dr. Singleton’s work in 2008, Dr. John H. Thorngate said, “It was an honor to have been a student of Dr. Singleton and an even greater honor to have moderated this Symposium in his honor. It is both exhilarating and humbling to read these articles and realize the profound impact that Dr. Singleton’s gifted intellect has had upon our understanding of wine chemistry.”

Dr. Singleton served as ASEV president in 1975-1976, received the Honorary Research Lecturer in 1986, the Merit Award Recipient in 1992, and the JF Guymon Lecturer in 1994. In 2008, ASEV honored his work with a symposium that centered on his research in wine phenolic chemistry. Eight of his most influential papers were selected, and eight eminent researchers were chosen to discuss the significance of these papers and their relevance to enology and the wine industry, and to expound on how Dr. Singleton’s research served as a springboard for their own research.

Dr. Singleton’s impact can be characterized in human terms by looking at the impressive list of enology luminaries who he inspired. The Symposium presenters/authors constituted a “who’s who” in enology and phenolic chemistry. Douglas Adams, Roger Boulton, Ann Noble, all colleagues of Dr. Singleton in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at University of California, Davis, have greatly advanced wine science in their respective fields of plant biochemistry, chemical engineering and sensory science. Andrew Waterhouse, who replaced Dr. Singleton on the faculty, has advanced his research in modeling oxidation processes, which was built upon Dr. Singleton’s research. Véronique Cheynier of INRA (France) and Johannes Cilliers of PTC Nestlé(Ohio), two of Dr. Singleton’s gifted graduate students, have gone on to achieve great success in their own research careers. James Kennedy of Constellation Brands and ASEV past president is an internationally known researcher in polyphenolics. Finally, ASEV’s First Vice President James Harbertson of Washington State University, Tri-Cities, represents the next generation of an academic enologist that was inspired by Dr. Singleton’s work and has established himself as a leading young researcher in phenolic chemistry.

While his passing is a great loss for the industry, Dr. Singleton has gifted us with his intellect and his work that continues to redefine the industry. ASEV has compiled a collection of Dr. Singleton’s top 25 most-cited articles published in the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture. Click here to view.

Thank you, Dr. Singleton, for your service.