Friday, October 9, 2009
Wine Country - more vineyards and wineries
You might ask what is the biggest difference between the vineyards we saw in New Zealand and the ones we saw in Napa. The answer is - "Not a lot!". But in Napa, mum and dad saw rows and rows of ripen wine grapes hanging on the vine waiting to be picked. It was the harvest season after all. There were grapes on the vine and there were also crates after crates of harvested grapes. A special aroma permeated the air, especially around the wineries. It was the smell of grape juice, not red wine. The hand picked grapes were transported in crates holding half-a-ton of grapes each to grape crushing machines spewing out the juice and leaving the grape skins and branches out. You would not imagine a US$100 bottle of wine started with such humble beginning.
The economic climate probably created a surplus of grape production. There was a cardboard sign saying - "20 tons Cabernet Sauvignon grapes for sale". These are the independent growers who own vineyards but have no wine producing facilities selling to wineries who don't have their own grapes but pick and choose from others. As these grapes are perishable, they would go to waste if they can't find buyers. And this is precisely what's happening this year in Napa. Take a look at this weblink to see the predicament facing the grape growers this year.