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01 October 2005

Saturday Morning Wine News

CoffeeSome Saturday morning wine news to read as you sip your cuppa Joe.

  1. A socratic comparison of Yellow Tail, Plato, and Greek wine
  2. Q:  What contributes $20 million bucks to the Illinois economy?  A:  Illinois wine (!?!)
  3. Saag Aloo and Indian wine?  It could happen
  4. Beer gut, bad.  Wine muscles, good.
  5. Just say, "Non!" to frankenvines

Bonus:  Perrin's pick Counoise.


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Don't be so surprised about Illinois wine - my bandmate's parents are currently writing on a book about IL wines and there has been substantial (or should I say, to be more accurate, "not insubstantial") interest in its publication.

Strange it may seem, but it's out there, and some of it isn't too shabby!


You're correct - I shouldn't be surprised. I've tried wine from Michigan, NC, and VA. Do you happen to know which locations are the 'up and coming' IL wine AVAs?


And what specifically is wrong with genetically modified disease-resistant rootstock? Why would that be a bad thing? I realize it is fashionable to be afraid of science, but I've never heard a satisfactory answer as to what is intrinsically wrong with GM crops.

I understand the issues related to patents, licensing, pesticide use and the like. But this is disease resistance.

In any case, these are no more Frankenvines than the usual graft strategy. Much of the time, the rootstock is a different species from the fruiting part. That's like whacking off a chimp's head and sewing on a human one. That, my friend, is a Frankenvine.

But it's also the best way to grow grapes. To me, any process or technology that produces a superior product in a sustainable manner is a good thing. So bring on the clonal grafts on genetically modified rootstock.


thanks for the input.

I have a master's degree in environmental management and BS in Zoology. So I can safely say that I am not afraid of science. However, I question the thoroughness of testing done with some GM foods.

How would you feel about Roundup Herbicide genetically spliced into a seed? Are you certain it is completely harmless? What tests have been conducted to bear this out?

As for being the "best way to grow grapes" that may be true from a production standpoint. However, heavily producing vines don't necessarily make great wine.

Agribusiness is trying to make a profit (and bully for them, that's what they are designed to do). My problem comes from the amount of 'cross-pollination' between former lobbyists and current government overseers.

Call me a cynic. There is an interesting documentary that you might want to see. It's called, "The Future of Food." Check out the Website here:


I agree that adding a gene for roundup production to a plant would raise health concerns. But that is irrelevant here. I'm not saying that it is impossible to design bad GM food.

I'm saying that not all GM food is bad, and that catch phrases like "Just say, 'Non!' to frankenvines" are counterproductive, hypocritical and display an unwillingness to approach the question of how to apply genetic engineering to agriculture rationally.

As for the root stock grafting technique, it has little to nothing to do with yields. It has to do with pest resistance. As you know, Europe's grape vines were basically wiped out in the early 19th century by Phylloxera. The solution to this was to import Phylloxera resistant rootstock from North America (usually V. labrusca), and graft the desired clonal strain (some form of V. vinifera) to the rootstock. Hence the chimp with the head of a man.

The article you linked above is, in essence, about the same thing. There is a virus that infects grapevines and causes them to not fruit. The research described is about developing rootstock that is resistant to this virus. They've been very careful to avoid any chance of genetic contamination. Further, this is pure research at this stage, not product development.

This is the best sort of genetic engineering. I hardly think these careful and well-meaning researchers need your Shelleyesque fear mongering.


By the way the "just say no to frankenvines" headline was simply a summary of the content in the linked article - NOT my opinion. And don't call me Shelly, :)

I didn't say there was anything wrong with rootstock grafting, etc. My only concern is genetically altered seeds that have not been thoroughly tested or overseen by a legitimate, independent regulatory agency.

I agree, closemindedness on all sides is a bad thing.

If you have a link to a wine producer embracing genetically modified stock, I'm happy to post it. The news article caught my eye and I thought it was interesting - simple as that. I wasn't attempting to engineer any radical change.

How 'bout a glass of vino? I'll buy.


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