Alumnus Applies His Chemistry Background in the Winemaking Industry
Winemaking is a lengthy process that requires knowledge of complex processes, including agriculture, fermentation, and commercial bottling. Benjamin Eyer ’10 applied his distinct background in chemistry to advance the art of winemaking analysis as technical support and product specialist for Admeo, Inc.
“I really like troubleshooting and solving different problems; that’s mentally invigorating for me,” Eyer says. “The wine industry, especially during the harvest, makes you think on your feet as you make split-second decisions.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and Spanish from Allegheny College, Eyer attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned a master’s in organic chemistry. Intrigued by the intersection of chemistry and agriculture, Eyer went abroad to understand winemaking in Chile as a harvest assistant.
“Allegheny definitely prepared me for graduate school, how to study and learn,” Eyer says. “It definitely gave me the basis for chemistry that I took to graduate school that I continue to apply and still use today.”
When he returned from Chile, Eyer learned about the different aspects of wine production and became a harvest intern for Frank Family Vineyards and Trisaetum Winery and Vineyards over two vintages. He spent several years learning the physical side of winemaking and bottling at A to Z Wineworks as a cellarhand. Later working for Montinore Estate and Landlines Estates, Eyer co-led all aspects of winemaking, from grape to bottle, for five vintages as their assistant winemaker.
Currently, Eyer sells machinery to fermentation producers and provides support for the applications. Eyer is involved in various duties, including sales, installations, and product development.
“In a lot of places I’ve been to, I’ve been the person referred to because a lot of people don’t necessarily have technical chemistry training,” says Eyer. “I’ve been a resource for explaining concepts or setting up in the wine laboratory.”
Additionally, Eyer’s background in Spanish has been helpful since Admeo, Inc.’s parent company is based in Spain, and he can communicate with colleagues in their native language. On occasion, he has also translated documents for his employer.
One day, Eyer hopes to create his own brand of wine.