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Oct 4, 2011

Preserving California's ancient vineyards

Dino Amantite of Sonoma County's Pagani Ranch, kneels beside a vine planted in the 1880s.

 This past Sunday, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat ran a feature story by me entitled Preserving Vines of Yesteryear.

California's Napa and Sonoma counties are home to many historic vineyards. Some—such as Sonoma Valley's Bedrock Vineyard, Pagani Ranch, and Old Hill Ranch—were first planted in the 1880s. Ancient vineyards such as these not only tend to produce grapes of great intensity, concentration and flavor, but also harbor rare and even near-extinct grape varieties.

However, the economics of wine today are contributing to the gradual disappearance of these heritage vineyards. Like other commodities, wines move in and out of fashion. When a hot new varietal comes along, these historic vineyards are sometimes replaced by the more profitable grape.

In the article I discuss the work of a new organization, the Historic Vineyard Society, which is working to keep these slowly-dwindling ancient vineyards intact.

Here's a link to my article.
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