Jun 3, 2009

On the Oregon Trail

Apologies for the long, long absence. Work, intermittent family crisis, etc. Well - back to wines, my favorite subject.

I have been reading up these long weeks on the wine business, in an effort to see if it is actually doable. There are businesses, like Crushpad or City Winery, which allow you to make your own wines, with all of the logistics - from getting the grapes, bottling, etc. - taken care of by the business. It does sound like a good way to start if you are a city dweller, but if you are in search of the Good Life, it's like drinking a bottle of Barolo in Tokyo to try to relive Tuscany. Not the same thing.

Then there is the idea of wholesale moving to southern Europe, to find a small patch of dirt, preferably with a ruin to renovate, and eke out a vineyard from which to grow grapes. (This, btw, is the premise of A Vineyard in Tuscany, which I had the pleasure of reading last weekend.) Not only is that a time sink, but you need a small fortune to back you up for the 5-10 yrs that you won't make a dime.

Still, this Armchair Vintner is enjoying her research into the wide world of winemaking.

On the business: This BBG article on a billionaire who is buying third and fourth growth wineries in France is interesting. The idea of making award winning wines without a vineyard or winery is also possible, as this American discovered in Portugal. I am also reading up on the Mondavi chronicles - The House of Mondavi, and Robert Mondavi's autobiography, Harvests of Joy.

On traveling: Oregon has some lovely wineries to bike through, as well as forests lined with chanterelle mushrooms. Not exactly Provence with truffles, but lovely nevertheless.

On Tuscany: I've never heard of the Antorini family, but apparently they are the oldest winemaking family business.

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