Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 9/20/20

Welcome to my weekly roundup of the wine stories that I find of interest on the web. I post them to my magazine on Flipboard, but for those of you who aren’t Flipboard inclined, here’s everything I’ve strained out of the wine-related muck for the week.

The Birth of ‘Wine Country’ Is a Story of Bugs, Taxes and War
A brief history of California wine.

Meet the maker: the Portuguese vintners taking natural wine back to its roots
NatGeo does wine.

‘I Have To Work’: Agricultural Workers In The West Harvest Crops Through Fire Smoke
When that’s the only way to put food on the table, you work.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Orange Wine—But Were Too Afraid to Ask
The Robb Report skims the surface, but does get some ket things right.

Smoke, wildfires challenge West Coast wine industry
Stories from Oregon.

Napa Winemakers Are Pledging Over $1 Million to Make the Wine Industry More Inclusive
Excellent news.

Uncertainty Reigns in Spain’s Strange Vintage
Rough times.

Canada’s Napa Valley Seeks Elusive Audience: Canadian Wine Drinkers
Not just America that has f*cked up wine shipping laws.

Sicilian Wine Pioneer Diego Planeta Dies
He helped put Sicily back on the map.

Harvest Finally Brings Good News for Champagne
Quality looks very high.

Smoke and Mirrors: Fixing a Fiery Vintage
Blake Gray learns some of the options.

Recalling Justice Ginsburg as a Champion of the Wine Industry
Tom Wark reminds us she was on our side for wine, too.

Mozel Watson: Harlem’s wine god
Great story!

The seemingly impossible: an artisanal bottle of California wine for $10
It’s hard to imagine they can keep this up.

Wine Sales Up, Winery Profits Down
A new survey shows a double-edged sword.

Champagne Growers Help Cultivate The Grape Varieties Of The Future
Climate change requires change.

Around the World, the 2020 Wine Harvest May Be Most Troubled Ever
Elin McCoy goes ‘round the world for a harvest rundown.

After hazy weeks, threat of smoke taint lingers over Napa Valley grape crop
There will be more stories like this coming out soon.

Iron Age wine press yields clues to Phoenician building techniques
Excellent winemaking process.

The Vanishing Point
A lovely piece of writing.

The grands crus of Bordeaux in the summer of ’69
A wonderful reverie.

Women, Wine and the Uncomfortable Conversation We Need To Have
A worthy long read.

Fires Leave 2020 Vintage in the Balance
A rundown of the troubles.

How Will Weeks of Wildfire Smoke on the West Coast Impact the 2020 Vintage?
Badly, is the answer.

California farmworkers say they didn’t get masks during wildfires
Awfulness.

The post Wine News: What I’m Reading the Week of 9/20/20 appeared first on Vinography.

Harvest of Fear

Writing a column about the state of harvest on America’s west coast in the face of historic wildfires seems to be an exercise in futility, akin to filing an article about a marathon only halfway through the race. By the time you read these words, the world may look very different.

Of course, the world already looks different.

Last Wednesday 9 September the sun didn’t rise in San Francisco, as smoke from hundreds of wildfires blew into the lower atmosphere around the Bay Area, resulting in an entire day of eerie orange twilight that unnerved most of northern California, as shown in the photo above from Lamborn Vineyards at the top of Napa’s Howell Mountain. 

At the time this photo was taken, the 83,000 residents of Medford, Oregon, were huddling in evacuation centres following a rapidly moving wildfire that ripped through more than 3,000 acres (1,200 ha) on Tuesday night, devastating the communities of Medford, Phoenix and Talent, and destroying at least one winery in the Rogue River Valley AVA. Two small fires began and were quickly controlled in Oregon’s Willamette Valley this week, even as two massive fires converged to the south-east of Portland, forcing the evacuation of an estimated 500,000 residents on Thursday night.

The week before, two large fires in Washington’s Colombia Valley wine region were brought under control, but with more than 75,000 acres (30,000 ha) burned, smoke continues to filter to the east towards Walla Walla as wind currents shift.

In all, more than 3.4 million acres (1.4 million ha) so far have burned or are burning throughout California, with fires in (or threatening) the Russian River Valley, Napa, Santa Cruz Mountains, Sonoma Coast, and Santa Lucia Highlands winegrowing areas. The single largest fire in California history is burning in the north-west part of Mendocino County but thankfully has stayed away from the Potter Valley and Redwood Valley viticultural areas.

Continue reading this story on JancisRobinson.Com.

This article is my monthly column at JancisRobinson.Com, Alder on America, and is usually available only to subscribers of her web site. If you’re not familiar with the site, I urge you to give it a try. It’s only £8.50 a month or £85 per year ($11/mo or $111 a year for you Americans) and well worth the cost, especially considering you basically get free, searchable access to the Oxford Companion to Wine ($65) and maps from the World Atlas of Wine ($50) as part of the subscription costs. Click here to sign up.

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