Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Alternative Varietals: Just in Time?

A sneak peek of coverage from the panel on Alternative Varieties from last week's American Society for Enology and Viticulture panel on this topic last week.

From an environmental perspective, have we been growing all the wrong grapes? Mother Nature would tend to agree,

Instead of growing Mediterranean wine grapes, known the world over ince ancient times for their fabulous wines, our English wine writing and importing colleagues successfully imperialized "their" grapes - i.e. French varietals grown near to them, and which they previously owned during the Aquitaine-era - and their palette on generations of wine drinkers - and then wine growers - in the U.S.

The cost to us: aquifer depletion. Like growing an English garden in a desert, northern European varietals (Cabernet, Chardonnay, etc.) require water and climate that is not our natural state, so we've used tremendous resources (mostly water) to grow them.

Now viticultural scientists are taking a hard look at what it would take, what with climate change underway and all that, to get wine drinkers - and winemakers - to think about some of Europe's other great varieties - or perhaps some of our (California) own.

For more on this movement, read the U.C. Davis ppt here.

Read more about the panel sessions here in Wines and Vines.

I'll be talking more about this in upcoming posts.

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