California Slide Show
Reflecting his New World orientation, Peter Hayes (above) of Rosemount Estate stressed the importance of adopting and adapting techniques from wine regions the world over. His said his goal at Rosemount is to first understand the site, and then to understand consumer preferences. He used Rosemount's McLaren Vale vineyard as an example. Because the French don't irrigate at all, the practice in most New World vineyards has been to cease irrigation well before harvest. But this logic ignores the fact that France gets considerably more rain than most New World regions, Hayes noted. So rather than cutting off the water supply completely, Hayes provides just enough water to maintain the vine's functions, including the accumulation of flavor and color in the grapes, which consumers appreciate.
Referring to discussions among the growers in Valpolicella about planting international varieties rather than the traditional grapes of the region, Sandro Boscaini (not pictured) of Masi Agricola invoked an Italian saying, "Wine, woman and cow--from your own country." In other words, stick with what works. Making his traditional Amarone della Valpolicella, one of Boscaini's best wines, includes drying the grapes for three months after harvest and before fermentation to concentrate the flavors. As such, Boscaini's objective in the vineyards is not simply to produce good fruit, but to grow fruit that is suitable for the lengthy process of drying the grapes. By using devigorating rootstocks and minimizing botrytis, Boscaini is able to produce a richer wine that is fruitier, riper and readier to drink earlier.