amigoni wrote:I run a commercial winery and vineyard in Kansas City. We couldn't be organic if we wanted. If we were organic, we would end up with mummified black rotted grapes.
We are SO lucky in coastal California. It's one of the easiest places in the world to grow wine grapes. We have virtually no rain during the growing season, large diurnal temperature swings and limited pests. I was in southern Ohio around Labor Day two years ago, selling wine, and had to slow down to about 40 on the interstate because it was raining so hard I couldn't see even with my wipers on high. A couple of days later a wine shop owner asked if I had tried a certain local Cabernet. I had, in fact, and it wasn't bad. I told him I had a tremendous amount of admiration for the people who were growing grapes and making wine there, because if we had weather like that in early September Prozac sales in Napa and Sonoma would be through the roof.
Steve Heimhoff of the Wine Enthusiast magazine wrote an article ca. 1992 about the weather in 1989 being so bad that, even with all its technology, California had a lot of bad wines that year. I wrote him a letter explaining that we don't have the technology that they have in places like Bordeaux because we don't need it and they do. Even winewriters tend to have this perception of old world (Europe) being low-tech and California high-tech. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Necessity is the mother of invention (hey, that'd be a good name for a band, eh?). Almost all the technological advances in grapegrowing and winemaking come from France, Germany and Italy. The wine industry is a much bigger part of their national economies. Almost everyone here uses European crushers, presses, filters and bottling equipment. Yeast cultures, and for those who use them, enzymes, tannins, micro-ox all come from Europe. All the synthetic fungicides were developed by Bayer, BASF and other European companies. We had a single two day rain storm in mid September in 1989, conditions that would have had Burgundian winemakers screaming "vintage of the century".