October 25, 2016

Wine Country: May our Goblets runneth Over. {Poem}

Cliffs Resort (used with permission) Nor for re-use.

“You can’t rush good wine” ~ Ringo Garza


There was a time when California vintners grew vines primarily using a method called dry farming, which is still the preferred method of grape growing in Europe.

In the 1980s, California growers began replacing drought-resistant rootstock with rootstock that requires sustained watering—which allowed them to plant 1,200 vines per acre, as opposed to the usual 600 (for vines that get their water only through natural precipitation).

Bottom line, the irrigation required to grow the grapes that lead to our great California wine is—well, depleting our essential resources in the most biodiverse state in the country.

Irrigated vineyards arguably interfere with the best interests of our water sources, wildlife and fish habitat. When we bulldoze our oak woodlands or plow up our chapparal, or drain our aquifers, we are paying far more for our wine pleasures then the price on the bottle.

Much of California’s true wealth is in her magnificent and wildly varied eco-regions. So, when it comes to growing grapes and drinking great wines, let’s think about doing so in such a way that not only produces complex, delicious varietals, but also doesn’t drain our water sources—lakes, rivers and tributaries—destroy wildlife habitat and add more plants and animals to the endangered species list.

May our goblets runneth over—not only with superb wine, but with all the varied and rich experiences that California has to offer. Salud!


Wine Country.

Purple-stippled landscape glows against a backdrop of

mustard hills,

Sun-drenched, lime-green vines

cast a blinding light

Blue-violet droplets hang heavy—

sags of promised delight,

a film of dust covers their sumptuousness,

shy Haitian maidens peer out

behind nature’s curtain.

Past where the gravel road curves ‘round

past the place where horizon slides into its burgundy bath

Is a dark, sacred place where annals

of history are etched into stone

well below green-saturated hills

streaked in shiraz hues,

hills once home to foxes,

bobcats and quail.

Trickling streams

fill my ears with

sounds from bygone years

where underground aquifers

flowed, nurseries to

natures bounty

now a burdened silence,

a forbidden story, longing for

its once vibrant habitat now

bled out to support

lush droplets filled with a heady,

potent elixir, awaiting transformation into

an ice breaking, social libation.




Author: Melanie Jackson

Image: Cliffs Resort, used with permission 

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

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Melanie Jackson