Tim's Wine

UC Davis Releases 5 New Wine Grape Varieties

by Timothy Varan on Thursday, December 26, 2019

Source: https://www.ucdavis.edu/

December 22, 2019

For the first time since the 1980s, University of California, Davis, researchers have released new varieties of wine grapes. The five new varieties, three red and two white, are highly resistant to Pierce’s disease, which costs California grape growers more than $100 million a year. The new, traditionally bred varieties also produce high-quality fruit and wine.

“People that have tasted the wine made from these varieties are extremely excited,” said Andrew Walker, geneticist and professor of viticulture and enology at UC Davis, who developed the new Pierce’s disease resistant varieties. “They are impressed that they’re resistant but also that they make good wine.”

Pierce’s disease a growing threat

Pierce’s disease is caused by a bacterium spread by a group of insects called sharpshooters. It causes grapevine leaves to yellow or “scorch” and drop from the vine. The grape clusters also dehydrate, and infected vines soon die. While the disease has been around since the beginning of wine grape production in California, concerns have escalated with the arrival of the nonnative glassy-winged sharpshooter, which has the potential to spread the disease more rapidly. Pierce’s disease occurs most often near rivers and creeks, and around urban and rural landscaping where sharpshooter populations reside.

Pierce’s disease also threatens wine grapes in the southeastern U.S. Rising temperatures from climate change could increase the spread of the disease, which is thought to be limited by cold winters. Growers in the Southeast can usually only grow Pierce’s disease resistant varieties that don’t have the same wine quality as the European wine grape species, Vitis vinifera, which is typically grown in California.

New varieties more sustainable

To create the new varieties, Walker crossed a grapevine species from the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico, Vitis arizonica, which carries a single dominant gene for resistance to Pierce’s disease and was used to cross back to Vitis vinifera over four to five generations. It’s taken about 20 years to develop the five patent-pending selections that are now being released.

“These varieties will hopefully make viticulture much more sustainable and provide a high-quality wine that the industry will welcome,” said Walker. “So far there has not been tremendous interest in new wine grape varieties, but climate change may encourage growers to reconsider wine grape breeding as we work to address future climates and diseases.”

Winemaker Adam Tolmach, owner of The Ojai Vineyard in Ojai, planted four of the new varieties as part of a 1.2-acre experimental field trial. The trial was on the same plot of land where Pierce’s disease wiped out his grapes in 1995. The vineyard then and now is organic, so spraying insecticides to fight the disease spread wasn’t an option.

“I wasn’t interested in planting in that plot again until I heard about these new Pierce’s disease resistant grape varietals,” said Tolmach. “This year was the first harvest. We’ve just begun to evaluate the wine but I’m very encouraged.”

Five varieties to suit every taste

The five new varieties of wines were evaluated by sensory tasting panels. Tasters included leading industry winemakers and enologists in prominent wine-growing regions of California and Texas as well as regions in the southeastern U.S.

“What I think is exciting is that they’re stand-alone varieties independent of whether they have Pierce’s disease resistance,” said Doug Fletcher, former vice president of winemaking for Terlato Family Wine Group.

The three new red varieties are camminare noir, paseante noir and errante noir.

Camminare noir has characteristics of both cabernet sauvignon and petite sirah. The selection has ranked highly at numerous tastings of fruit grown in both Napa and Davis. Tasting comments: dark-red purple color, bright red fruit, raspberry, cherry, ripe, tannic, elegant rather than dense. The variety is 50 percent petite sirah and 25 percent cabernet sauvignon.

Paseante noir is similar to zinfandel. It has also been ranked highly at tastings. Tasting comments: medium dark red with purple; berry pie, cassis, black olive, herbal, dried hay, coffee, vegetal like cabernet sauvignon, licorice, round, moderate tannins, soft finish. The variety is 50 percent zinfandel, 25 percent petite sirah and 12.5 percent cabernet sauvignon.

Errante noir is a red wine grape most similar to a cabernet sauvignon and has great blending potential. Tasting comments: dark-red purple color; complex fruit with herbs and earth, plum, big wine, dense, rich middle, tannic yet balanced. The variety is 50 percent sylvaner and 12.5 percent each of cabernet sauvignon, carignane and chardonnay.

The two new white grape varieties are ambulo blanc and caminante blanc.

Ambulo blanc is similar to sauvignon blanc and has been tested in Temecula, Sonoma and along the Napa River. Tasting comments: light straw to clear color, citrus, lime, tropical, gooseberry, golden delicious apple flavors; bright fruit, slightly bitter, textured. The variety is 62.5 percent cabernet sauvignon, 12.5 percent carignane and 12.5 percent chardonnay.

Caminante blanc has characteristics of sauvignon blanc and chardonnay. Wines have been made from Davis fruit and ranked well. Field trials are underway at Pierce’s disease hot spots in Ojai and Napa. Tasting comments: light straw-gold color, apple-melon, lychee, floral aromas, pineapple, green apple, juicy, harmonious, well-balanced. The variety is 62.5 percent cabernet sauvignon, 12.5 percent chardonnay and 12.5 percent carignane.

These five varieties are ready for patenting and release. There will be limited amounts of plant material available for propagation in 2020 as only a few of the grape nurseries participated in a pre-release multiplication program. Much more will be available in 2021. The Pierce’s disease resistance breeding program continues, and more selections are approaching release.

‘In the name of science’: Twelve bottles of wine are sent to the International Space Station so effects of microgravity on the aging process can be studied

by Timothy Varan on Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Reposted from the www.dailymail.co.uk/ Written by: By STACY LIBERATORE

Astronauts aboard the International Space just received a case of wine that is out of this world. A Luxembourg-based wine company launched 12 bottles of red wine to the craft that will be aged for an entire year ‘in the name of science’. Researchers are set to study how weightlessness and space radiation affect the aging process, with the hopes of developing new flavors and properties for the food industry.  The wine will not be consumed by the crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS), but will be used in an experiment into how microgravity affects wine’s aging process, Techcrunch reported.

While there are 12 bottles in space, the wine company has donated another 12 bottles for researchers to study on Earth – allowing them to compare the batches after the year. Both the samples on the ISS and on Earth will remain sealed and kept at 64 degrees Fahrenheit. And the researchers have predicted that the two batches will taste different at the end of the experiment.

The red wine was just one of a few odd items launched to the space station on Saturday from Allops Island, Virginia, U.S., by aerospace company Northrop Grumman by the European startup Space Cargo Unlimited. The care package, weighing about four tons, also includes sports car parts and a baking oven and cookie dough to make chocolate chip cookies. Astronauts aboard the ISS will test the ‘Zero-G’ oven by baking chocolate chip cookies from dough that was sent into space by Hilton Double Tree earlier this year.  Astronauts have never baked before aboard the ISS, only warming food with an existing ‘oven’ – they usually avoid food that produces crumbs that may float around the cabin and cause problems. Typical ovens rely on the convection of hot air to evenly warm the food, meaning adaptations must be made for the ISS’s microgravity kitchen.

Hilton, which created the oven in partnership with New York company Zero G Kitchen, said: ‘In a typical convection oven on Earth, there is a continuous cycle of hot air rising and cool air moving in to replace it, setting up a constant flow of air in the oven called a convection current that allows for even cooking. However, the International Space Station (and space in general) is a microgravity environment, so there is no “up” direction for the hot air to float towards – meaning, we can only depend on heat being conducted through the air.’

A NASA ground controller called it a ‘good launch all the way around’ on Saturday. Other newly arriving equipment will be used in a series of NASA spacewalks later this month to fix a key particle physics detector.

Vineyards Can Help Stop Fires

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Many customers have asked about the effect of fires on the wineries in Sonoma County this past month. This is a repost from an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on October 29th, showing that the vineyards do not generally … Continued

Read Full Article >

The Brave New World of Tariffs

Friday, November 1, 2019

In September the World Trade Organization (WTO) announced that the US was justified in imposing $7.5 billion dollars in tariffs against some European Union countries.  This is in response to what the US argues are unjustified subsidies that the same EU … Continued

Read Full Article >

Seven new grapes approved in historic Bordeaux AOC vote

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

As a national heatwave loosened its grip for a few hours Friday morning, the Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur wine producers’ syndicate unanimously approved the use of seven new grape varieties. The move can be seen as an historic climate change … Continued

Read Full Article >

Crazy Case Sale June 28-30th
Orange Avenue Store Only

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Don’t miss our the semi-annual Crazy Case Sale!  This one promises to be bigger and better than every before, with almost 400 cases ready to go to new homes.    The way this sale works is as follows.  The left side … Continued

Read Full Article >