Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fire and Wine!

It really is everywhere. Not just in Southern California, but now Northern California, Las Vegas, Arizona, and a number of other Western states. The effects are devastating not only to the people that live in these areas and the ecosystems, but the economies.
One particular industry that is starting to get extremely worried about their well-being because of the fires is, as you may have guessed, the wine industry. While many vineyards haven’t been directly hit by the fires, they are getting closer and closer. Each day more and more vintners wake up see a sheet of layer of smoke on their vines from the fires, a sign that danger is quickly approaching. The layer of smoke, on top of the fog from the smoke has affected the way that the grapes are ripening, and in turn will affect the taste and outcome of their wines. Glen McCourty of The University of California Cooperative Extension farm said that “the secondary buds were three weeks late in the photosynthesis process because of the smoke” in an article for Wines and Vines. Three weeks, while it might fly by in our world, makes a HUGE difference in wine making.
Another problem that the fires bring into wine making is that the smoke and the fire leave a pungent taste and smell that is extremely difficult to get rid of. It is often describe of as a bacony flavor, and to most, if not all wine drinkers, it is not something pleasant.
So for now, California winemakers are taking every pre-caution to not let their wine be exposed to the smoke and the fire. However, when it is all around, what can you do? If you live in the ocean, you can’t avoid water can you? I guess we will have to see what may come.

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