Some argue that machine harvesting has the advantage of being able to pick in the cool of the night. I have no issue with that, on a small scale, except that the machine does not differentiate between ripe, under-ripe or rotten grapes, or indeed large insects. When the vines are pruned, sprayed and harvested by machine and the grapes are mechanically de-stemmed by machine all on an industrial scale, it stops being real wine and becomes industrial alcohol. The following articles illustrate the dark side of the modern wine trade.
By the way, did you spot the driver on this monster? (Top left)
As Europe produces around 76% of the world’s wines why would we, in the UK, ship wines from the other hemisphere?
There can only be two reasons:
Which do you think is the reason that UK supermarkets are full of wines from Australia and South Africa?
The wrath of grapes?
It is probably not the alcohol which gives you the head-ache. It is almost certainly not sulphites; there are10 times more sulphites in prepared salads or dried fruits than in a glass of wine. It may be any of the additives allowed and used widely when wine is produced on an industrial scale. The point is that these may be used but don’t have to be used. Try a real wine from a real producer first before you give up altogether – you may rediscover the joy of wine.
The original vineyard, from which the name was taken, was planted in 1847 by Bavarian immigrant Johann Gramp, but the first “Jacob’s Creek” wine brand was launched onto the market in 1977. In 1989 the owners, Orlando Wyndham, were bought by the French based, worldwide conglomerate Pernod Ricard, who also swallowed up Seagram and Allied Domecq.
"Mis en bouteille dans Avonmouth"
One of the first lessons one may learn about buying wine is to look for “estate bottled” on the label as a clue to quality. The point of estate bottling is that the wine remains fresh, un-oxidised and does not need to be sanitised and neutralised for bulk transport. The following article is from the British Bottlers’ Institute and is as far away from “Mis en bouteille a la propriete/Chateau” as you can get.
Once the biggest producer in the world but now running 2nd to Constellation. The only good thing to say about Gallo is that, unlike Constellation, they are at least based in wine country.
A lucky break?
Earnest and Julio grew up working in the vineyards owned by their immigrant father who had moved to America from Piemonte in Italy. In 1933, the ambitious boys could see the opportunity presented by the end of prohibition. With a small, but opportune, inheritance of $5,900 they set up their first winery in a ramshackle shed with a book borrowed from the local library. They made $30,000 in their first year by producing ordinary wine for 50c a gallon; ½ the price of their competitors.
Some time back bushy tailed tree rats were introduced into the UK from the new world. We called them grey squirrels. They do the job of squirrels as far as we are concerned; they look cute and scamper around hiding nuts. A generation thinks that’s what a squirrel is, with no concept of the real thing. They do the job so well that the real thing has all but disappeared.
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