Friday, October 27th at Solano Cellars
5-8pm (7:45 last call)
*No reservations necessary
Fungus and climate change - the two mortal enemies of Vitus Vinifera, the downfall of many a great old vine planting. How can we best preserve our wine-drinking future? Proliferation and promotion of PiWi grapes. And what exactly is a PiWi grape? (and why do we call it that): 1.) a crossing of American wild grapevines with natural resistance to the most lethal fungal pathogens and Vitis Vinifera (science!), and 2.) because “Pilzwiderstandsfähige Reben” is far more difficult to pronounce.
As champions of more natural winemaking techniques that eschew additions and intervention, our full-throated enthusiasm for the development of PIWI varieties might at first seem paradoxical - wouldn't breeding new varieties of grapes be the most intervention imaginable? From a binary perspective, that might be true. After all, the effect of developing these new hybrid varieties is to eliminate the threat of disease, and a more narrow minded observer could argue that PiWi grapes can't, by definition, be used to make natural wine. But you, dear reader, you're no troglodyte. That kind of narrow-mindedness has no place in your world. Without this careful crossing of varieties, winemakers are faced with this difficult question in perpetuity - use chemicals and sprays in the vineyard, or commit to natural practices and risk devastating losses of yields, vineyards, and ultimately, livelihood.
Amidst the vineyards of the Überetsch valley in Alto Adige, former-modern-furniture-maker-turned-natural-winemaker Thomas Niedermayr is making a compelling argument for Piwi varieties: Piwi varieties mean that chemicals and artificial substances can be dispensed with, and experience, empathy and passion mean that nature is allowed free range. Thomas and his father have been cultivating these crossings - Bronner, Souvignier Gris, Solaris - in-house, each one taking a 5-6 year investment before even proving to be viable (or not). Perhaps the most compelling argument, though, is the result of that labor of love: wines that are clear expressions of Alto Adige, crystalline and pure, somehow entirely familiar despite the novelty of the varieties.
This Friday, we'll have Ashley Taranto from Rocks Paper Scissors Imports behind the bar at Solano to pour through the lineup of Thomas' wines (and delve a bit more into the process behind developing them!).
Flight of 6 wines for $25 ($15 club)