Rancho Cucamonga, to the East of Los Angeles. had a proud wine grape growing history. Some of those vines were planted at the turn of the century. What were once gorgeous, ancient bushes of Carignan, Petite Sirah or Zinfandel, are now warehouses, parking lots or UPS truck garages. Are we the better for this happening? Who can say. The families had to face the realities of the modern wine industry. They sold their land and gave up a way of life that is a very important to California's history.
The references to "the Family Farm" that Congress tosses around is a sick joke. The ancient, mostly immigrant owned and run wine grape vineyards truly are the Family Farms and they have lost the game of economics. Although I am a free market guy and believe the consumer decides the fate of each and every business, I cannot help but be sympathetic to the tough choices these people face.
Many wine lovers talk about the significance of vine age in wine making and the historical importance of these old sites is fascinating and inspiring, but the consumer has decided and Peter may be feeling a little left behind and forgotten. When one turns down the checks with a lot of zeros to preserve a Family heritage and a genuine love of the land and feel they produce something truly unique and special for the consmer, it can be puzzling that the price that the consumer is willing to pay are far short of what the hard work and TLC are worth. Meanwhile, every retired dentist and business mogul can start up a label and be completely removed from the process except for the check writing and immediately jump to the front of the line to the consumer at absurd prices.
I know this is the way of the world. I know that the laws of economics are at work.
It's just sad in a way, at least in my book.