By Jessica Yadegaran
Wednesday, July 29th, 2009 at 3:49 pm in Corkheads.
Randle Johnson, Bill Easton and others from the U.S., Australia and Argentina converged in Lake County two years ago at Elevation of Wine, an international symposium on high altitude viticulture and winemaking. They will meet again next year in the same place.
Winemakers, vineyard managers and viticulturists from Australia, Argentina, and the States met for one day to discuss the characteristics and qualities of winegrapes grown at high elevations and if wineries should market these wines as originating from high altitudes, much the way they market sustainable or cool-climate wines. Are customers interested?
From my chats with Johnson and Easton, it appears that no major guidelines were reached as to how high a vineyard should be before we can call it a mountain vineyard (or a hillside one). Such guidelines are firmly in place in Europe, but not here yet. When I asked Johnson, he said, “I’m going to say 500 feet.” Seems low, but perhaps they’ll reach a consensus when they reconvene in 2010.
The most comprehensive coverage I’ve seen of the 2007 symposium is by Jim Gordon of Wines & Vines. I suggest you give it a read.