I was in a meeting today, and in the theme of Halloween the meeting was “scary things happening in business”. The subject of wine didn’t come up in the meeting, although I often daydream of wine. Thus, my mind wandered into some of the strange and spooky things that I’ve heard have happened in the wine industry lately.
First, the story that has me really freaked out this Halloween. On, or around September 15th of this year someone drove out to a Red Mountain vineyard and stole 1.25 tons of Morvedre grapes. Disappeared! Vanished!! Right into thin air.
I want to drive up there and check to see if there are crop circles up on the Grand Reve vineyard. Who in the heck could literally steal $4000 worth of grapes right off of one of the most visible hills in Eastern Washington and have nobody see it?
This is not a small amount of grapes. At least one very large, full pickup truck would have had to have driven up, taken a few hours, and driven back down and away with this pile of grapes dripping on the pavement behind. I’m thinking this is not really possible. There are way too many nosy neighbors up on that hill. Not to mention that this would have taken a fairly substantial team of educated enologist thieves to pull it off.
My hypothesis is that the aliens took them. You see, Morvedre is among one of the rarer grapes grown in this region. Not just anybody has a block of Morvedre sitting around in their back yard.
The aliens must have turned off their lights and hovered quietly into the fields. Their little alien tentacles picked the grapes really fast, and when one of the neighbors went to check out the situation the aliens smacked them against the head with a “forget this” stick.
After the grapes were loaded into the spaceship the little buggers took them back to their galaxy. Who knows? They probably even have Bigfoot stomping them right now as we speak!
All kidding aside, this is a really spooky situation when you think that there is some idiot out there thinking that they are going to get away with making several barrels of stolen Mourvedre. You better hope for their sake that the aliens really did steal it.
Another fantastic and spooky real story that is going on in vineyards here in the region this fall is botrytis cinerea. A fungus that has attached to a number of grapes in the region and is trying to destroy the crop before it can be picked.
Botrytis is a gray mold that attacks the grapes and greatly affects the flavors. It pretty much makes them look like zombie grapes, with a whiteish powdery mildew texture that grows around them, coating them and making them look…moldy.
Growers have been picking as fast as possible to beat the “rot”, although many vineyards were hit very hard. According to one grower in the upper Yakima Valley that I spoke with, most of the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay in the region has been hard hit. Good luck getting a good cheap white blend next year folks!
The good news about Botrytis oozing off the grapes around here is that the late harvest wine drinkers will be happy to know that they will have plenty to sip on soon. That mold gives Late Harvest and Ice Wines their glorious flavors.