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message 1: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6645 comments Mod
The Group has not discussed wine for some time.

I have bought organic wine in the past, and vegan wine, also wine mixed with fruit and spring water which tries to get around the pay-per unit of alcohol laws.

A site called Wine water watch is very worried about Big Wine, specifically in America, where they claim fracking wastewater is being used to irrigate some vineyards. Other vineyards are using recycled water and I guess it depends on how clean the water is. Here is their list of worrying topics.
Other countries may have different laws and procedures.

message 2: by Robert (new)

Robert Zwilling | 2193 comments The water coming out of the sky isn't too clean either.

message 3: by Clare (last edited Sep 01, 2018 01:14AM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6645 comments Mod
An ideal spot for a winery is on a volcanic slope, availing of all the minerals. In Tenerife I saw little semicircles of shelter walls made from the black stone, to protect the vines from the sea wind, support them as there isn't much wood on the island, and keep them warm.

Around Naples the volcano Vesuvius is considered such a threat that the state offers to pay householders to leave. The vineyards are thriving however and I can see why the owners stay. The view from the crater lip is spectacular.

message 4: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6645 comments Mod
As northern latitudes warm, we may be able to have wineries in Ireland. We're already growing maize. England does produce some wines, Silver Hill and Straw Hat are ones I have bought, but they make the wine in England from imported grape juice, surely a cheat. They do say so on the label.
I've tried wine from the Carcassone region of France which might be close to Irish soil as it is very much limestone region.
As Ireland does not have our own wine industry, we import wine from all over the world. This is in direct contrast to most wine producing nations, which drink home produced wine or that from very near countries.
We also tax wine heavily so over three euros of each bottle (say five euros is the lowest price) is import duty and tax. This is possible because all our wine is imports and we are not favouring a home product.
We also tax beer heavily, 1000 times more than Germany apparently. This worries this working class paper.

Spirits are so highly taxed that it is much cheaper to buy Irish spirits outside the country. I just can't buy them.

The Irish Times, a middle class paper, tells us about wine:
"The net result of recent tax hikes means that the actual cost of the wine in a €10 bottle is just 50 cent, with the other €9.50 being swallowed up in packaging, distribution costs and tax."

So we can see that not very much of each bottle goes to the organic or otherwise wine maker.

message 5: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6645 comments Mod
Gizmodo gives us a very pleasant article on the person who developed the Concord grape.
This was popular as an eating grape, for wine, but especially for grape juice and preserves as it was sweet.

message 6: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6645 comments Mod
This article on what makes a sustainable wine, reminds us that the majority of wines' emissions are during transport.

message 7: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6645 comments Mod
A California winery decided to reduce the weight of the glass in each bottle. This has an overall effect of reducing carbon emissions during manufacture, transport and recycling.

message 8: by Clare (last edited Sep 06, 2020 01:54AM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6645 comments Mod
Author Laura Bradbury tells me;
Laura Bradbury

"Les Vendanges! Grape Harvest 2020 in Burgundy
It was a hot, dry summer in France. Our friends and family there complained about the succession of “la canicule” (heatwaves). As a result, the annual grape harvest was super early—in fact, the earliest it’s been since the 1500s, which is worrisome—and will be mostly complete in Burgundy by the time September rolls around."

My Grape Year (The Grape Series, #1) by Laura Bradbury My Grape Escape (The Grape Series, #5) by Laura Bradbury A Vineyard for Two (The Winemakers Trilogy Book 1) by Laura Bradbury My Grape Cellar (The Grape Series, #7) by Laura Bradbury My Grape Village (The Grape Series, #6) by Laura Bradbury

message 9: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6645 comments Mod
Growing wine in the Napa Valley is becoming more challenging. Vineyard owners are looking to grape varieties able to survive in hotter drier climates.

"as far back as 2011, a Stanford University study predicted that the amount of Northern California land suitable for growing premium grapes could shrink by half as early as 2040, because of increased heat.

That's bad news for the Cabernet grape. Too much heat can mean the berry develops sugar before it has developed its full character, throwing off balance and coloring.

Winemaker Dan Petroski has been clanging his glass to sound the alarm. Petroski, who worked in the magazine business and first got interested in wine at high-end New York lunches with clients, has likened the sun's escalating assault on Napa Valley's trophy grape to the slow boiling of a frog.

"The changes in climate that are predicted both worldwide and in the Napa Valley mean that in 10, 20, or 30 years' time...Napa will be a different agricultural region," Petroski wrote recently for a trade publication.

Petroski loves Cabernet and makes some of the finest in Napa Valley for Larkmead Vineyards, a high-end producer founded in the 1890s. For 10 years, he said, winemakers have been doing things like shading and misting vines, but he sees a day when "there's no silver bullet that's going to mitigate climate change."

At Larkmead, he led me to a three-acre research block he has planted with grapes you may never have heard of - grapes he hopes have a better chance of standing up to climate change than Cabernet.

Here, surrounded by trellised rows of Cabernet vines, he's got young stalks of aglianico, charbono, tempranillo, shiraz and touriga nacional. Those sturdy reds might not be as familiar tasting as Cabernet, and they don't have anywhere near the cachet, but they can handle heat.

"We'll see what works best," said Petroski.

"Maybe Cabernet, pinot noir, chardonnay and other grape varieties that built Napa and Sonoma ... in the last 30 years won't be suitable in the next 30 years," Petroski said. "We have to adapt to what's going on in the world. This is not a wine industry problem. This is an agriculture problem. This is a global problem. This is a humanity problem.""

message 10: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6645 comments Mod
Or does your wine taste of smoke? It will, if it's from California...

""The fires we're seeing reported on the news are certainly bad enough," says Kazaz, "but this is the latest in a string of bad wildfire seasons along the west coast." As a result, Kazaz says consumers can expect that some of their favorite wines will have a slightly smoky flavor. Grapes are covered with ash. Winemakers are debating whether to harvest earlier than planned.
"There are ways that winemakers can attempt to 'mask' the smoky taste, but it's literally permeated everything, from the grapes themselves to the wooden crates and barrels used to store grapes and the finished wine product. Heavy smoke and a burnt flavor is hard to remove, and the effect is cumulative as the state has been hit hard by wildfires for the past few years.""

message 11: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6645 comments Mod
A test for molecular fingerprinting accurately identified the regions of Australian wines in this test. This could cut wine fraud.

More information: Ranaweera K.R. Ranaweera et al. Authentication of the geographical origin of Australian Cabernet Sauvignon wines using spectrofluorometric and multi-element analyses with multivariate statistical modeling, Food Chemistry (2020). DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2020.127592
Journal information: Food Chemistry
Provided by University of Adelaide

message 12: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6645 comments Mod
Owls and less pesticide. I have to say I had stopped buying California wine a long time ago due to reports of pesticide and fracking and other wastewater being used. If they are cleaning up their acts I might try again.

"Managing pests is a primary challenge facing California’s vintners. Winegrape growers in Napa Valley launched their own raptor pest control efforts in the 1980s, when decades of using commercial fertilizer and a nothing-but-grapes monoculture began catching up with them: having long touted the particular taste of their wines and their unique connection to the land, vintners were realizing their beloved terroir had acquired a toxic taint. Replacing pesticides with barn owls for rodent control was one of several innovations that marked a new appetite for more environmentally sustainable production. Many growers have also begun planting perennial grasses between rows; some are experimenting with reduced or no tilling and no water.

Today, owl boxes rise out of row after row of vineyards like skinny sentinels protecting precious purple gems. In a survey of 75 California vintners, four-fifths say they use the boxes and are convinced that owls help to control rodents, Johnson says. He wanted to know how and how much, so he launched a series of scientific studies in 2015 to determine where owls hunt in vineyard areas, how many rodents they remove, and whether they are actually reducing pesticide use.

Echávez, Chavez, and Carlino are the most recent cohort to monitor as many as 280 nest boxes at the edges of 65 vineyards owned or managed by 15 different groups.

"Barn owls, the researchers have learned, are not exactly finicky, but they have decided tastes: wooden boxes placed at least three meters high facing away from the sun. They also strongly prefer some uncultivated grassland and avoid nest boxes near forests, according to published studies.

And they eat rodents — voraciously. During the four-month nesting season, when the Napa barn owls spend roughly one-third of their time hunting in the vineyards, a single family gobbles up about 1,000 rodents. Another study estimated a family eats an average of 3,400 annually. At that rate, a farmer with 20 nest boxes can expect barn owls to remove about 70,000 rodents from the vineyard and surrounding landscape. Gophers, mice, and voles are their main prey. Johnson’s team found preliminary evidence that owls reduce the gopher but not the mouse population. The data so far are inconclusive for voles.

That still leaves the question of whether barn owls actually affect the amount of pesticides winegrape growers use to reduce the damage done by rodents gnawing on vineyard roots and vines. “It’s really the bottom line,” Johnson says.

In the past, many California vintners have relied heavily on rodenticides that kill animals by inhibiting clotting and coagulation, ultimately leading to uncontrolled internal bleeding. Under a law that went into effect January 2021, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation severely limits rodenticide use, placing a statewide moratorium on use of the super-toxic poisons that kill birds and other wildlife up the food chain along with their intended targets.

Most of the farmers included in Johnson’s research project no longer use rodenticides. Among Napa Valley growers there is clear awareness of the risks and consequently very limited use of high-risk rodenticides, says Anna Brittain, executive director of Napa Green, a nonprofit that facilitates sustainability and climate action certification for wineries and vineyards in Napa County. Of the county’s 40,000 acres of vineyards, about 3,800 acres are organic, a certification that prohibits using synthetic chemicals.

A trend toward chemical-free farming statewide is reflected in the threefold increase of organic winegrape acreage since 2005. Napa County represents 18 percent of the total. But while the number of California’s organic vineyard acres has doubled in just the last decade, it remains a mere 3.5 percent of the land in the state planted with winegrapes. And even organic certification does not mean the growers do not use some rodenticides. The January bill includes a loophole that exempts all agricultural users, says Lisa Owens Viani, co-founder and executive director of Raptors Are the Solution (RATS), a San Francisco–area nonprofit that won a David versus Goliath battle through the rodenticide moratorium.

Scientists do not know “for sure” whether owls are reducing pesticide use, Johnson says. A 2019 survey of winegrape growers throughout California found that about 80 percent used barn owl nest boxes, 50 percent used kill traps for rodents, and 21 percent used rodenticides. Farmers with barn owl nest boxes reported using rodenticides at a lower rate than those who did not use barn owl boxes.

“Whether the use of barn owl boxes caused that reduction in rodenticides is, of course, not proven. Nonetheless, this result is encouraging,” Johnson says."

The article further looks at hawks and bluebirds.

"Scientists have found that adding nest boxes to vineyards almost quadrupled the abundance of insect-eating avian species. The density of Western bluebirds alone increased tenfold where boxes were added, and the species richness of avian insectivores increased by over 50 percent. A 2011 study found 2.4 times more beet armyworms removed in vineyards with bluebird nest boxes than in those without. The rate of larval removal averaged 3.5 times greater with occupied boxes than unoccupied.

How do we know this is bluebirds at work? “We collect bird poop and scan it to see what they’re eating,” Julie A. Jedlicka, author of the study, published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, told SF Gate.

This species is declining, and scientists think they know why. Western bluebirds nest in tree cavities, relying on woodpeckers and other species with better-equipped bills to do the drilling for them. Logging and conversion of forests to other uses have diminished their habitat. So have vineyards, where expansion has contributed to the conversion of over a million acres of California oak woodlands and savannas. Audubon’s climate model forecasts a 64 percent loss of current winter range by 2080. "

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