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by Fred McMillin
Winery of the Week
"Wine is sunlight, held together by water."
...Galileo, 1564-1642, Italian astronomer, born 436 years ago this week.
The Rest of the Story
Galileo had it right. Sunlight furnishes the energy whereby the vine converts carbon dioxide in the air to sugar in the grape. Upon fermentation, the resulting dry wine is about 85% water. We'll discuss all this in our spring courses at San Francisco State University, College of Extended Education.
Here are some of the questions we answer.
What is Viticulture?
Latin: VITIS means VINE; CULTURA refers to "caring." Thus, viticulture refers to caring for the vine. We want it to produce grapes for eating fresh, for eating after drying (raisins), or for making wine. Here we are concerned only with wine grapes.
What soil is best for growing high-quality wine grapes?
What climate is best for wine grapes?
Since ripe wine grapes must have over 20% sugar, how is the sugar produced?
If leaves are so important, how are they treated in the vineyard?
Canopy Management at Pacific Echo
The winery (formerly called Scharffenberger Cellars) is located in the cool Anderson Valley of Mendocino County. Thus, they can't waste any sunshine. Tex says their goals are to train the vines to increase the exposure of the grapes to the sun, and also to open up the vines for better air flow through them. The crew goes through the entire vineyard several times during the growing season, clipping off excess leaves, directing the shoots to expose the grape clusters, etc. "It involves a lot of handwork, but is the only way to ensure that each vine will turn out its share of quality grapes."
It seems to work. Critical opinion of their
array of sparkling wines... "Quality is very high
and still improving"..."the sparklers have great
character and individuality."
If you are interested in my History of Wine course, or the Fundamentals course this sring, phone (415) 405-7700, FAX (415) 338-7290.
02/16/00—Meet a Master
02/14/00—A Fine Valentine
02/11/00—A Tale of Two Mumms
02/09/00—It Takes a Village
02/08/00—The Flora Aura
02/07/00—The History of Wine
02/04/00—Our Winery of the Century
02/03/00—A No Flaws Shiraz
02/02/00—Monterey On Display
02/01/00—The Ashbrook Outlook
This page created February 2000