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Ph.D. Position


NATure in the Art of WinemakING

Deadline for applications: 
July 26, 2023

Job Interview:
September 2023

Start Date:  

October 2023


The NAT-AWING project is a collaborative project between the dept. of Philosophy University of Milan, Italy and the Institute Lyfe (formerly known as Institute Paul Bocuse) Research and Innovation Center (IPBR) in Lyon, France. 


Wine is an ambiguous substance with respect to the natural/artificial distinction. Indeed, wine is not a naturally occurring substance, but results from agriculture and naturally occurring processes (mainly fermentation) generally combined with a series of human interventions during both winegrowing and winemaking. Such an ambiguity goes with debates about the type of human interventions that are deemed necessary in the art of wine making. On the one hand, the desire to control the wine characteristics and to reach the predictability of taste, does not seem to correspond to the consumers naturalness expectations anymore. On the other hand, the idea that natural wines are just the mere expression of a terroir with the only help of native yeast has been recently criticized as leading to another form of wine uniformity.

Addressing the challenge of transition towards more sustainable food and beverage production, in line with PNRR Mission 2, the general ambition of the present project is to go beyond the dichotomy culture/nature by investigating how the winemakers interpret their role in the art of winemaking. The project will focus on specific research questions: i) the variety of winemakers’ views about terroir, ii) the compatibility between winemaker interventions and wine naturalness, iii) the relationship between wine identity and authorship. These questions will be addressed both empirically and theoretically. Interviews with winemakers in France and Italy will be conducted and the data collected will fuel an original contribution to recent debates about winemaking and wine naturalness in epistemology and aesthetics.

Borghini, A. (2012). On being the same wine. Rivista di estetica, (51), 175-192.

Burnham, D., & Skilleas, O. M. (2012). The aesthetics of wine. John Wiley & Sons.
Perullo, N. (2021). Epistenology: Wine as experience. Columbia University Press.
Scruton, R. (2009). I drink therefore I am: A philosopher's guide to wine. A&C Black.
Smith, B. C. (Ed.). (2007). Questions of taste: the philosophy of wine. Oxford University Press, USA.
Todd, C. (2012). Expression and objectivity in the case of wine: Defending the aesthetic terroir of tastes and smells. Rivista di estetica, (51), 95-115.


  • Possession of a Master’s degree in philosophy, social science, humanities

  • Strong writing skills

  • English is the main language of the PhD program and fluency in English is expected

  • Basic knowledge of French is required for conducting interviews with French winemakers

  • Basic knowledge of Italian is an asset

  • Particularly preferable: acquaintance with themes and problems in aesthetics and philosophy of mind and language


  • CV, including (if applicable) a list of academic publications

  • Application form

  • Outline of a possible PhD research project (min. 2000, max. 4000 words)

  • Letter of motivation

  • One letter of recommendation

For all the detail and to apply please visit this page (session 2).
For questions and additional information, we encourage the candidate to contact before the interviews in September: 


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