Things to ponder...

Didja ever notice edamame? What is it with that stuff? All fuzzy and green. Food you gotta peel like peanuts at the ballpark. Why, when I was a kid, we didn't call it edamame, we called it soy beans, and you pretty much fed it to the cows. Or the vegetarians...


OK, really, on a less funny note, lots of disasters have been occuring of late. Hurricanes keeping breweries in the Gulf from operating, and last week(Oct 12th) there was a big warehouse fire in Vallejo, California.

South of Napa, Vallejo sits on San Francisco Bay and is a convenient shipping site for wine. A large storage facility, built into an old Navy munitions storage facility, caught fire. Estimates say that 90+ wineries lost wines in the blaze, including many small labels. Wineries including Von Strasser, Thackerey, and Caldwell lost everything but the '05s that are still in barrel. Saintsbury was one winery that lost their library of older vintages. In their case they lost everyhing. Twenty five years of wines, including larger format bottles used for special events like winemaker dinners.

These smaller producers won't have any income for a year or two. That's huge. Some wineries will close and some will have to let employees go, depending on who was insured for what. Katrina damage keeping people away from home for a year or more and fire damage taking away people's livelihood for a year or more.

Wine grapes, like any crop, can be subject to the ravages of weather, and extended storage before release makes them taste better, but it is a gamble. So next time you wonder why a bottle's at the price it is, think about how many people make a living from that winery, and how much risk can be involveed with something before it ever gets to a retailer.

Try to savor all of those bottles and don't get hung up on keeping that vertical in your cellar intact year after year. Sometimes life gets in the way. 10/19/05