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Tom Collins

Grape and wine chemistry research

In the state-of-the-art analytical chemistry laboratory and research winery at the new Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center, Tom Collins uses advanced analytical instrumentation and multivariate statistical tools to study the composition of grapes, wines and distilled spirits. He evaluates composition changes while fruit ripens, throughout the winemaking and distilling processes, and as these products age. The goal is to better understand how vineyard, winery and distillery practices affect the composition of grapes, wines and spirits and to correlate chemical composition with sensory perception of these products.

Specifically, the analytical chemistry laboratory equipment includes:

  • Gas chromatography solid-phase micro-extraction/mass spectrometry (GC-SPME/MS) for profiling volatile composition
  • Ultra high-pressure liquid chromatography-quadrapole time of flight mass spectrometry (UHPLC-QTOF/MS) for non-volatile profiling
  • Microwave plasma emission spectroscopy (MP-AES) for metals analysis

Primary departmental program areas

Grape and wine chemistry, wine production, distillation practices, aging of wines and spirits


  • Cornell University, Ithaca, NY | B.A. Russian and Soviet Studies, 1984
  • University of California, Davis, CA | Ph.D. Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry, 2012

Professional experience

  • 2015-present, Assistant Professor Washington State University
  • 2013-2015, Director of Research, Food Safety and Measurement Facility at University of California
  • 2008-2012, Senior Manager/Research & Development, Treasury Wine Estates
  • 2006-2008, Assistant Winemaker/Winemaker, LangeTwins Winery
  • 2002-2006, Manager/Research, Beringer Winery
  • 1997-2002, Manager/Grower Relations/Vineyard Operations, Constellation Wine Company

Professional organizations

  • American Society of Enology and Viticulture, member since 1994, currently Secretary/Treasurer
  • American Chemical Society, member since 2008
  • American Society of Mass Spectrometry, member since 2012

Assistant Professor

WSU Wine Science Center
359 University Drive
Richland, WA 99354-1671