With todays economic woes, stress is a very common part of many peoples lives and, unfortunately, stress can cause significant health issues. Believe it or not, grapes can get stressed out, too. It is a very common man-made occurrence in the wine industry.
In many wine growing regions, since water is at a premium, the grapevines have to struggle for liquid nourishment, thus placing them in a stressful environment by causing their roots to travel deep below the surface in search of necessary moisture. Vineyard managers have to be careful just how much their growing efforts stress the fruit (grapes) -- meaning that they provide the vines with very little water making the vines struggle to obtain the necessities that allow them to grow in a healthy manner. This stress creates a smaller crop than normal which also results in smaller grapes, but with a much more intense flavor.
As I read an article about the poor soul who just a few days ago was operating a forklift and somehow dropped $1,000,000 worth of wine on an Australian dock, I couldnt help but wonder how high his stress indicators had risen as he realized the enormity of his mistake. The wine was the 2010 Mollydooker Velvet Glove Shiraz that was supposed to be taking a voyage from Adelaide, Australia, to the United States, but instead it sunk faster than the Titanic. Out of the 462 cases that were being loaded, only one case survived the 18-foot plunge to the ground.
Upon learning about the demise of one-third of his 2010 Velvet Glove production, Spark Marquis was quoted by the Associated Press saying that the crews who sifted through the remains said that it was like a murder scene, there was red everywhere, but they added that it smelled phenomenal.
Sarah and Spark Marquis started the Mollydooker brand of wines in 2006 -- a name that is Aussie for a left-hander and so named because both of the founders are left-handed. Sarah and Spark are a winemaking team that has won a number of awards producing different wines for other wineries prior to the advent of Mollydooker. Although they stress the vines to some degree, Spark has developed, through many years of research, what he has trademarked as the Marquis Vineyard Watering Programme whereby he either provides water or not at specific times and intervals causing the grapes to retain intense flavors.
Mollydooker was one of the first wineries to place a tear off tab on the back of their label which is designed to allow you to remember the name of the wine you drank the night before or for the more adventuresome -- you can get it wet and place on your forehead so everyone knows which bottle of wine you just finished drinking. Just another way to remove the stress from the daily woes of life!
Jim Rawe, a family attorney in Bradenton, is an avid collector of fine wines. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com.