Saturday, January 12, 2013

Napa Organics: Yes, Virginia, There Are Even a Lot of Them

As I loitered yesterday in St. Helena in an upscale home decor haunt I've dropped in annually upon over the decades, I admired a lovely wine tablecloth, created by the owner of the shop, Vintage Home, apparently originally for the Napa Valley Wine Auction.

This magnificent table cloth (after much deliberation I ended up buying one) has a delightful, one of a kind (not sold anywhere else) map of Napa wineries running down the center of it. Being both a map freak and a wine aficionado, this rated as a must have.

During the course of my deliberations (small or large size? matching napkins or not?), I chanced into a conversation with a fellow admirer of the map tablecloth, an older woman who's son runs a very prominent Napa winery (that is not organic).

I mentioned that I wrote about organic wines and wineries, and she wondered aloud if there were any in Napa. Yes, I said and started pointing them out on the map - Ehlers, Staglin Family, Neyers (transitional), Hall, Longmeadow, Grgich Hills, Spottswoode, Tres Sabores, and Corison (uncertified), to name a few. She hadn't known.

How many Napa regulars must there be who are like her? I know it's a widespread phenomenon.

Earlier this year, I got into an online tangle on one of the foodie web sites that became a rather vitriolic and heated exchange (the site took the dialog down at my request) with a prominent Napa wine writer who swore up and down that Napa didn't have a pesticide problem. It was only when I sent her to the state ag mapping tools and the state dept. of pesticide regulations statistics for Napa County that she had an Aha moment.

For most of us, our prejudices outweigh the facts - especially when the facts are so hidden from view. And pesticides are invisible. If we don't see them, they don't exist. Oh.

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