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Reply to "Where Have All The Century-Old Vines Gone? (The Hidden Story)"

Originally posted by cdr:
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.

I didn’t mention it before but I only use Organic materials, & spent my life out there learning what is healthiest for the environment – wines are a reflection of where they are grown – that is the reason specific vineyards & viticultural areas are listed on wines so I’ve always strived to know every inch of the land & have been out in it, in every kind of weather condition, hour of the day, & season. Not too far from me thousands of acres that were cared for by farmers are getting covered like you saw in Rancho Cucamonga only here we need those lands to slowly absorb the heavy rain water we usually get & I see horrific torrents of water slamming down the Russian River & it’s tributaries with any Rain fal, & at a time, when we actually have less acres in farming, & there is extreme attention to erosion control in Vineyards (Wine growers know they need to keep their good soil to have a good vineyard) Some extremists want to blame the Farmers for the flooding! It’s the high-density asphalt!

In Sonoma County most of the growers ~80% have less than 40 acres & most of them average less than 15 acres. In the family farming that puts the fruits & vegetables in the grocery it is rare to see “family farms under 200 acres!