Sunday, July 10, 2005

Heart of the matter...

The following quotes link to a rather well balanced, open and honest Western Farm Press report of the issues in the current “hang time” debate:

"Hang time is an issue of compensation. If the crop is hanging out in the vineyard losing weight, pay me for the lost weight. If it is hanging out there longer under the threat of bad weather damaging the crop, make sure I am covered," said DiBuduo, who heads the state’s largest wine grape marketing cooperative with 500 members statewide….

"I have no problem with wineries wanting to make better wine with hang time or whatever they think they need. We need to give the consumers what they want. But in doing that, the grower wants proper compensation," said DiBuduo.

And there it is, out in plain sight as I’d stated before: drop the whipped-up moral “save the vines” pretense, and the issues are reduced to money and control – not that those aren’t important or discussion worthy issues. But now, with the real issues acknowledged, they can get some serious discussions going. Perhaps the
November meeting will be more tangibly productive than the pervious meetings/seminars have been.

As for the article’s premise that a vineyard with 25°Brix fruit left on the vine to become 28°Brix losing 14% of the tonnage to dehydration is plain wrong. It would only take 11% loss in weight to produce the 28°Brix value – and that’s assuming the vines are no longer producing more sugar (e.g., only dehydration is in play)(and yes – I do feel that an 11% loss is rather significant, but I feel there’s already been enough exaggeration of claims to date, so we should try to get these figures right).

I do like how they left the issue, to wit:

“There is little disagreement that the delay of harvest in most cases has resulted in wines with better flavors. But at what expense to the grower. That’s the major part of the issue," [said Robert Wample, chairman of the California State University, Fresno department of viticulture and enology], echoing DiBuduo’s sentiment.


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