chardonnay – as you’ve never seen it before!


Way back in 2010 I had a contact in Basel who did, and still does, some extra-ordinary work with his electron microscope. Dr Martin Oeggerli has been published worldwide by the BBC, National Geographic, Nature and so many others. See here:

Having seen so a lot of his work with plants I asked if he would like to do the same with some pinot and chardonnay from Burgundy – we also collected some aligoté and gamay. I thought if the images were as great as I expected, then I could do a nice sideline, selling special fine-art prints of the images – they would have been expensive, but hey!

I recruited a certain David Clark, formerly of Morey St.Denis, to collect samples at flowering – and then passed on the phials to Martin in Basel.

As it turned out, for quite some time afterwards Martin was simply snowed-under with publishing work, then my own position became complicated after the company where I worked was acquired. I saw some interesting black and white images from Martin but colouration – and all such images that you see require many, many hours of colouration – was put on the back-burner and eventually forgotten – by me – but seemingly not Martin!

Today he sent me this great image – “Bill. Today, I finished a picture from a sample you originally provided back in 2010 (Chardonnay; enclosed)… hope you like it.” Now how cool is that?

We had a short conversation which I will include so that you may understand what you’re seeing:

Me: “Is that the tip from the flower, post fertilisation?

Martin: “Exactly. To me, the stigma looks pretty fresh. I guess, it is showing the tip of the pistil (with the stigma in red) during, or just very shortly after fertilization. One pollen grain has hydrated and grows a pollen tube across the stigma. Since I am working on a project on plant tissue I was digging in the archive…


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