Jaboulet La Chapelle Hermitage 1989 and 1990; Guigal’s La La wines (La Landonne, La Mouline, and La Turque) 1978, 1985, 1990, 1991; Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavillon and L’Ermite 1990, 1991; Chave Hermitage 1990, 1991; and many vintages of Penfolds Grange are some of the best Syrahs we’ve been fortunate to taste. These are reference point wines. They inspire us.

In 2007, we wanted to make a small amount of reserve Syrah, just 3 barrels. We didn’t want to use “Winemaker’s Reserve” or “Artist Series” to depict our reserve wine because it’s been done to death. So, we decided on calling our reserve line the Celebrate Excellence series. The idea is to celebrate something profound that changed the way we look at things. Since we already had a math/science theme with QED, we decided to stick with it. Paul Gregutt, wine critic, happened to be visiting with Billo to taste our wines and talk about what we were doing. He suggested calling the wine Principia to honor Sir Isaac Newton’s **Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica** first published in 1687. The Principia is a seminal work that changed the way we view the natural world. Newton’s laws of motion form the basis of classical mechanics – the study of bodies in motion. The Principia stands as testament to the genius of Newton. It also stands as inspiration to mankind that with our minds we can achieve unbelievable things. Each year, we change the graphic on the label. I’m geeky enough to go through the Principia every year to pick out a new formula to put on the label. My brother Billo thinks I’m crazy because I spend days trying to understand the stuff (and then forget it shortly thereafter). The wine is always 100% Syrah from multiple vineyard sources.

For Winemaker notes, technical details, and reviews, please click on the vintages below.

2007 – The label for the inaugural vintage of Prinicipia has on it a graphic depiction of Newton’s law of universal gravitation: each particle is attracted to every other particle in the universe. The force of this attraction is given by the equation *F= Gm _{1}m_{2}/r^{2}* where:

*F* is the force of attraction between the two masses (the magnitude of F_{1} equals the magnitude of *F _{2}*)

*G* is the gravitional constant

*m _{1}* is the mass of particle 1

*m _{2}* is the mass of particle 2

*r* is the distance between the centers of particles 1 and 2

2008 – The label depicts Newton’s Second Law of Motion: force is equal to mass times acceleration. The famous equation is *F=ma* where:

*F* is the net force

*m* is the mass of the object

*a* is the acceleration of the object

We didn’t use the formula in its famous form (*F=ma*) simply because we didn’t like the way it looked on the label. The formula on the label says the same exact thing, but it also highlights something that is less obvious in the formula *F=ma*: this formula works only for systems where the mass is constant. So:

*ΣF* is the net force

*dp/dt* is the change in momentum over time (momentum=mass*velocity)

*m*dv/dt + v*dm/dt * (change in momentum over time = mass times the change in velocity over time + velocity times the change in mass over time)

For constant mass systems, *dm/dt* is zero (since mass is constant), which means that *v*dm/dt* is zero. This leaves *m*dv/dt*. The change in velocity over time is called acceleration (*a=v/t*). So, *m*dv/dt* can be rewritten as *ma*. Therefore, *F=ma*.

Instead of *F=ma*, we chose to derive it by using momentum simply because it looked cooler on the label.

2009 – In 1609, Johannes Kepler announced what became known as Kepler’s first law and second law of planetary motion (there are three). The first law simply states that the planets orbit around the sun in elliptical orbits, and not circular as stated by Copernicus. The sun is located at one of the two foci of an ellipse. The second law states that a planet sweeps equal areas in equal time. If you drew an ellipse with the sun at one foci and the planet on the elliptical orbit, and if the planet traveled the same amount of time from A to B as it did from C to D, the areas that it sweeped would be equivalent (imagine a straight line from the sun to point A and a straight line from the sun to point B – that area would be the same as the area from the sun to points C and D). Kepler arrived at his conclusions through observations. Newton proved them.

2010 – This diagram is part of Newton’s discussion on attraction by non-spherical bodies: the attraction of the spheroid AGBC to object P located externally on its axis AB is proportional to AS^{3}/3PS^{2 }(from **Newton’s Principia for the Common Reader** by Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar). What can I say, I liked the picture.

2011 – There is a widespread notion that Isaac Newton introduced calculus in the Principia Mathematica. That is not exactly correct. Though he’s been credited with developing calculus around 1665, he didn’t publish his findings until 1693. Nowhere in the Principia, published in 1687, will you find calculus or calculus notation explicitly used. But, there is certainly evidence that he uses the concepts of calculus in the Principia. The image is but one example.

From Book 1 Section 1, Lemma II, from the translation by Andrew Motte:

“*If in any figure A a c E terminated by the right lines A a, A E, and the curve a c E, there be inscrib’d any number of parallelograms A b, B c, C d, &c. comprehended under equal bases A B, B C, C D, &c. and the sides B b, C c, D d, &c. parallel to one side A a of the figure; and the parallelograms a K b l, b L c m, c M d n, &c. are compleated. Then if the breadth of those parallelograms be suppos’d to be diminished, and their number to be augmented in infinitum: I say that the ultimate ratio’s which the inscrib’d figure A K b L c M d D, the circumscribed figure A a l b m c n d o E, and the curvilinear figure A a b c d E, will have to one another, are ratio’s of equality.*

*For the difference of the inscrib’d and circumscrib’d figures is the sum of the parallelograms K l, L m, M n, D o, that is, (from the equality of all their bases) the rectangle under one of their bases K b and the sum of their altitudes A a, that is, the rectangle A B l a. But this rectangle, because its breadth A B is suppos’d diminished in infinitum, becomes less than any given space. And therefore (By Lem. I.) the figures inscribed and circumscribed become ultimately equal one to the other; and much more will the intermediate curvilinear figure be ultimately equal to either. Q.E.D.*”

This is the concept behind integration (integral calculus). In calculating the integral of a curve you are simply calculating the area bounded by the curve and the x-axis between two distinct boundaries. This is tantamount to summing up all the rectangles as in the graphic. As the width of rectangles approaches zero, the number of rectangles approaches infinity – the more the rectangles better the approximation of the area under the curve. Integration is simply a really fast way to add all these rectangles.

2012 – The graphic on this label is from Book 1, Section XIV, Proposition XCIV, Theorem XLVIII. The Prinicipia is concerned with motion and the relationship between forces and bodies. This theorem deals with how a larger body affects a smaller body through centripetal forces. From the translation by Andrew Motte:

“*If two similar mediums be separated from each other by a space terminated on both sides by parallel planes, and a body in its passage through that space be attracted or impelled perpendicularly towards either of those mediums, and not agitated or hindered by any other force; and the attraction be every where the same at equal distances from either plane, taken towards the same hand of the plane; I say, that the sine of incidence upon either plane will be to the sine of emergence of the other plane in a given ratio.*”

2013 – From Book I, Section III, Proposition XII, Problem VII, this diagram deals with finding the relationship of the centripetal force to the focus of a hyperbola.