User ID:

Remember me
Lost password?

Thursday Thorns
The Vineyard Of The Future

By Charles Olken

At various times in my life, I have been accused of being a cynic, a naysayer, a prophet of doom and an all-around negativist. I can’t be precise, but I think, in reality, almost all of those events could be put down to my penchant for being a wise guy. I like to prick the balloons of the pompous, the know-it-alls, the stop-talking-and-listen-to-me crowd. You know them, if you think about it. They brought us the “food wine”craze of the eighties when the very thought of ripeness and flavor was anathema—to them. They were the ones a decade earlier who told us that California wines might win tastings with comparable Bordeaux when our wines were young but that those tasty wines would never age—oops, wrong again. And they are at it today telling us that we all need to be prepared to move north to Oregon, Washington and British Columbia because of global warming.

Now, I happen to agree with those who say that we are in a period of climate change, and while I am no scientist, I do not argue much with the notion that the activities of man have contributed to what appears to be irrefutable proof that the planet is warmer than it used to be. But, when I read articles that purport to tell me how we can turn back the clock and keep making great wine in the old tried and true places, my wise guy ears perk up. It is not that I want to find ways to debunk this new wisdom, because I hope they are right. Still, I leave it to you to see what you think. Here is the prescription being offered by some folks down under who claim to have been studying the problem and have come up with a few solutions:

“Future viticulture and winemaking under a changing environment will require smarter approaches to assess potential impacts of climate change on grapevine growth, water status, quality of fruit and final wine quality. The Vineyard of the Future (VoF) initiative, has been working in an international collaboration to develop new and emerging technologies to be applied to achieve a more efficient and versatile vineyard and winemaking management. The final objective of this initiative is to create smart tools that will help viticulturists and winemakers to assess the effect of specific management strategies applied from the vineyard to the winemaking processes. Achieving high quality grapes and wine could be considered as an amelioration strategy under climate change conditions that will enable growers to maintain competitiveness of their products in national and international markets.

Latest research and tools under development by the VoF – University of Melbourne in relation to the use of: i) multicopters, ii) automated pheromone traps, iii) dogs, grapes and wine and iv) robotic wine pourer and image analysis.”

OK, there you have it. We are going to staying a flying army of multiple rotor helicopters over our vineyards to cool them off. You know the kind of fans that we use in our bedrooms and parlors when we choose not to put the air conditioner on. I never thought they cooled anything—just moved the air around so it seemed cooler. I wonder if the grapes are going to be fooled.

Pheromone traps seemed like a good idea when I first read the words. Who could be against pheromones? Bring ‘em on. Of course, at my age, that might be dangerous. And do grapes really need to raise their levels of sexual excitement? Kind of reminds me of the multicopters.

Climate change is serious business, and not just for the wine business. But silly is silly, and with my wise guy hat firmly entrenched on my head to keep it from blowing off, I would suggest that these ideas seem a little silly.


The CGCW Experience - Take the Tour

Meet the New CGCW

For thirty-five years, Connoisseurs’ Guide has been the authoritative voice of the California wine consumer. With readers in all fifty states and twenty foreign countries, the Guide is valued by wine lovers everywhere for its honesty and for it strong adherence to the principles of transparency, unbiased, hard-hitting opinions. Now, it is becoming the California winelover’s most powerful online voice as well. And, our new features provide an unmatched array of advice and information for aficionados of every stripe.


No Subject
by Robert Milton
Posted on:1/27/2014 12:36:17 PM

I'm wondering how dogs will help climate change?

Leave a comment below, but please limit your comments to 1,200 characters or less. We find it helpful to make a copy of our comments to be sure that they fit. In that way, you can edit them if they run long.

(Please note: your e-mail address will not be visible after posting)



Note: Refresh your browser to see your latest comments.

Having technical problems with the comment system? Click here.