Wednesday, January 13, 2010

In wine there is truth

Viticulture is the process of obtaining fruit quality through agricultural decisions. The main goal of viticulture is to produce grapes with characteristics deemed desirable to produce a wine at a price which the wine can be sold for a profit. This is no simple task, there are so many decisions that go into growing producing and bottling wine...that it seems almost overwhelming. Every decision from choosing a site for growing grapes, the soil they grow in all the way to the process of aging will effect the quality, style and price of the wine.

Once all these decisions are made the entire process could take up to five years before the wine makers know for sure if all the decisions were good ones. This is not like cooking where you can taste the product along the way. Tasting the dirt probably won't tell you much.

Without overwhelming you with all the gorey detains of Viticulture, there was a detail that I learned about that I found very interesting. Almost all of the worlds grapes grapes are grafted and planted on American Rootstock. A rootstock is a just the stump, which already has an established, healthy root system. Due to a little bug called Phylloxera, that loves grape vine roots. This bug originally is from the eastern United States, and our grape roots are immune to this bug, making it the perfect root stock.

Of course the bad news is we wouldn't need to do this if the Americans had not shared our little Phylloxera bug with the Europeans in the late 1800's....thereby destroying the wine industry around the world. Them little bugs travel fast and were really hungry. All is good now, but maybe don't mention it when visiting France...this could explain why they are not that fond of us.

"Life is like wine, the longer you take to enjoy it the more chance you've got of tasting vinegar.”