Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wine Tasting in Lodi, CA

Wine tasting was the purpose of our weekend trip to Lodi, California. Well, for most of the group it was wine tasting. I enjoyed the gardens at the different boutique wineries we visited.

Our trip started at the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center. We were lucky to have several of the center's directors speak to us. The gardener and environmentalist in my loved what I heard. Lodi's wine growing community is working hard to create the Lodi Rules. These are practices involving IPM (integrated pest management) as well as sustainable standards. Through peer review of scientists, academics and environmentalists, participating growers can get their vineyards certified as producing sustainably-grown wine grapes. A certified grower can display the Lodi Rules seal on their labels.

Some things you will see in the vineyards are a cover crop is grown in between the rows of vines (the grassy area between vines in the second photo above). This helps dry out soil from the winter rains. This allows the growers to control the water the vines receive from a drip irrigation system. Additionally, the cover crop holds the soil in place to keep the dust in the area under control. You'll also see a single rose bush growing at the head of the row. We were told that some people think the rose bush is there as in indicator of the onset of powdery mildew. However, if the powdery mildew is appearing on the rosebush, you are too late; it is already going to be a problem for the vines. Finally, growers like owls (pest control) and keep owl boxes in the vineyards.

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