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The legalization of marijuana in California is a topic with polarizing effects on wine grape growers. Tina Caputo, moderator for WIN Expo’s upcoming session; Marijuana and Wine: Understanding New Competition to Build New Opportunities, believes this topic is important and pertinent to the wine industry.
Winegrape Quality Paradigms: Observation and Explanation was the topic of Thursdaynight’s Luminarias talk, sponsored at SHED, Healdsburg, by the Healdsburg Literary Guild. The speaker was Professor Mark Matthews of UC Davis, who has written the idea-challenging book, “Terroir and Other Myths of Winegrowing”. Dr. Matthews is an environmental plant biologist in the UC-Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and has done extensive research concerning the traditions of grape-growing.
According to Karissa Kruse, president of Sonoma County Winegrowers, a shift has happened in the past few years. “Consumers now care about what goes on at a farm level,” she notes. Kruse mentioned that, not that many years ago, it was unique to put the vineyard name on the bottle, but now that is a fairly standard way to give an added marketing benefit to a bottle of wine.
Having many years in the wine industry, and settled into their high-profile work in the Napa Valley, these women comment on being a woman in the industry, and why gender isn’t the defining factor. Commenting are veterans Heidi Barrett of Barrett Wines, Calistoga, Elizabeth Vianna of Chimney Rock Winery, Stag’s Leap District, Cathy Corison of Corison Winery, St. Helena, and new mom Helen Keplinger of Keplinger Wines, Napa.
The biggest disruption to the American wine industry was Prohibition, which shut down some eighty percent of existing wineries in the period 1920-33. After the repeal, it took over 60 years for the number of U.S wineries to reach 1920 levels.