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Friday Fishwrap
Where Will I Move To Next?

By Charles Olken

Lord knows that the “word” is not good for California. Up to 73% of our vineyard land will be lost in the next several decades. That is a big worry. I came to California for its climate and its natural beauty. Where will I go if the place dries up, heats up and becomes Phoenix By The Bay?

I am caught between a rock and a hard place on this one. On the one hand, I do believe that the earth is heating up. We can leave causality aside for the purposes of this conversation because I have done my share to stop the seemingly inevitable and I have failed. On the other, I do wonder how much damage is going to be done if we average two or three degree days on the warmer days in the middle of summer. So far, at least, we are not all that warmer at the margins as the preponderance of cool vintages in the last half decade would seem to show. Do I stay or do I go? If Calistoga and Healdsburg are too hot for Cabernet, will Carneros and the Sonoma Coast become right up the Cabernet alley? How about the farmlands in northern Monterey and along the San Mateo coast? They are pretty good for artichokes and lettuce. Is Merlot in their future?

So, it may be getting onto time to move. But where? And I am not alone in needing to pick up sticks and move on. My good friend, Cabernet Sauvignon had better get out of Dodge as well.

The same brilliant analysis that predicts the absolute collapse of our benign, ocean-cooled surroundings also predicts that the mountains in the very northern end of California will become incredibly hospitable by 2050. Do I really want to live on Mount Shasta?

Okay, so now I am going to say it. I am not a climate change denier, but neither am I given to believing the most dire of predictions that my bay front home is about to have the climate of Tampa. And I advise that you too take a step back after reading that we are doomed and think about what has happened to wine in the last three decades. The answer is that it has gotten better, but mostly because farming practices are much improved. Maybe it is warmer, but maybe also we know how to mitigate the climate with trellising, leaf shading, row orientation, crop load and the like.

And if the worst does come to pass and forty years from now, things are vastly different, it will be my kids and grandkids that have to move on—just as I did when I came west so many years ago. And the wine grapes will move as well. It will all be gradual and will happen. Even if we lose existing acreage, there will be new lands to take its place. Wine and mankind will survive.


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Friday fishwrap
by Tom Barras
Posted on:4/12/2013 10:21:15 AM


Pink may well be wines of the future.  Sip and slake!



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