A winery sent me a Direct Message yesterday and requested that I remove a Tweet when I Retweeted a photo of their Old Vine Pinot Noir that included their own comments about how pretty the red leaves are.
I had Retweeted the photo with links to UC Extension information on leafroll, eutypa, and virus affected vineyards.
Early on in my tenure as The Millennial Daughter the Old Farmer pointed out one of my photos and then pointed to a cordon which had failed to put out any leaf area early in the season. He cautioned me to not be posting photos of dead cordons. While I respect his position and others position to “spin” the truth into a positive, I’m no spin doctor.
Old Vines should have a cordon or two which have given up 36 years into their life. Rot and mildew have been persistent issues for growers for two seasons now, forcing them to put more inputs into their production, more material out to prevent or kill fungus, driving costs up, driving organic credibility down. Growers report the abundance of powdery mildew this year from Mendocino to the San Joaquin Valley. Bunch rot is also becoming and issue. Winemakers report that in some vineyards they have to walk three vines before spotting a cluster. A well known Carneros Pinot grower is down by 40%. Extreme mountain fruit will potentially either be full of rot or fail to ripen in 2011 without aggressive thinning. And when your yields are significantly down, there’s not much left to “thin”.
Anyhow, there is an extremely short list of individuals on Twitter regularly Tweeting about actual vineyard conditions, data related to soil/weather/fruit, and attempting to educate rather than market to consumers and the industry at large.
Most of you on Twitter are caught up bitching about receiving sub par wine samples (Oh! Heaven forbid you actually just re gift a bottle to an appreciative friend); or those of you crying about not being invited to the “In-Crowds Wine Blogger Conference After Parties” (Crash their parties – what are they gonna’ do start a fist fight?) ; or worse, as a winery, you’ve left an outsourced marketing firm or even worse you’ve left your own in-house marketing/front desk/or anyone else who spends 90% of their time behind a computer and not in the vineyard or production facility to push out 20% off codes and tell tourists how lucky they are to have been in your tasting rooms over the weekend. If MailChimp is Tweeting for you. I hope you bring nothing but rotten fruit in this year.
So who’s Tweeting valuable, can’t miss vineyard and winegrape info?
Here’s my unabridged, unabashed, uberauthentic list:
UCCE Farm Advisor
San Joaquin Valley
SJV Viticulture production issues: varieties, pests and diseases, etc.
I cover issues of interest to the agricultural input industries and consultants. Including both conventional and organic.
Extension Specialist in Department of Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis. Extending Viticulture Information to Raisin, Table, and Wine Grape Growers.
eViticulture is a group of viticulture Extension specialists around the US.
*If I missed someone who is regularly Tweeting valuable information, send me a Tweet @ThomsonVyrds. I selectively follow back because I have limited patience for following Twitter accounts who whine about how terrible it is to drink free wine, project their Klout score/Wine Influence Twitter rating, or continue to do review after review of the cherry jubilee essence you got off the wine you paired alongside the Pacific Coast Grass Fed Bison Burger, side of truffle fries, even though Asimov told you guys to grow a pair, get out into the vineyards and start writing about W. I. N. E. At least that’s what I heard he told you – because I’m a Wine Grower and not a Wine Blogger and was busy at that time Tweeting out Leaf Water Potential (LWP) readings to winery clients who follow the ThomsonVyrds Twitter stream and to others in the industry who are interested in gauging vineyard conditions in the Carneros Region of the North Coast. Last I checked I’m a close to a buck fifty over a thousand followers and they aren’t all industry people. They are C.O.N.S.U.M.E.R.S Anyhow, maybe I’ll crash your party in Oregon next year. Maybe.
As far as the leafroll, eutypa and the red leaves out there. You can read up about the topic and others related to winegrapes and vineyards at this comprehensive resource compiled by the UC Integrated Viticulture program. And while selecting good sources of information to direct readers to I came across this UC Viticulture Research doing none other than absolutely tarnishing To-Kalon by calling its heritage clone 31 Mondavi Cabernet out as a “virus affected vineyard”. The audacity. Whether it was split on the Mondavi or Beckstoffer side I don’t know. But you can bet that if it’s on Andy’s side he is selling that fruit at a 30% markup over the block next to it which is most likely a replant showing not a single sign of pretty red leaves.
In 2009 I attended a seminar dedicated to the split of winemakers who opt out of working with virus affected vineyards and those who actually prefer to work with virus affected vines saying that they produce more complex, interesting wines. And if you are a winemaker who subscribes to the theory that Old Vines, 30 years plus, are favorable over just established vines and vineyards it’s mighty difficult to locate a vineyard that isn’t affected by something.
We’ve got red leaves at Thomson Vineyards. They are some of the oldest Pinot Noir vines in Carneros. They produce some pretty damn good Pinots and don’t seem to be hindering ripening, flavor, or winemakers selling their finished products in the marketplace.
Because after all, to consumers, that’s their favorite part of the visit to Napa Valley. Snapping photo after photo of beautiful orange and red hillsides of rolling vineyards and posting it to their Twitter and Facebook feeds, tagging the winery as they go.
If you have no idea what DM, Retweet (officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary this week), or tagging means you can take my crash course here.