Posts Tagged: viticulture
The front-page story provided an overview of Jordan's career, research plans and personality.
“My love of wine drives a lot – what can I say,” Jordan said. “I don't know about you, but I want to keep drinking wine until the day I die, so I really want to do my part to ensure the sustainability of drinking California wine.”
As part of the project, Jordan is looking for grapevines that thrive in the valley heat, produce a large crop and develop berries with color, flavor and acidity needed for fine wines.
"I won't declare any winners," Jordan said. "I'll say I have favorites, and I definitely have losers that I would not recommend.
The project was started by James Wolpert, a retired UC Cooperative Extension viticulture specialist, and continued by Matthew Fidelibus, UCCE viticulture specialist based at Kearney. Jordan took over the project a year and a half ago.
Finding the next cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay would be a home run, Fidelibus said. However, the data supplied by the project are also important in providing farmers and wineries the research and background to expand their own vineyards.
“If any of these varieties are going to be useful, it's important that the wineries are interested and comfortable with them,” Fidelibus said. “The grower can't grow varieties without the assurance that a winery is going to use them.”
Jordan has a master's degree from Cornell University and bachelor's degree from UC Davis.
"We consider her a star," said Maxwell Norton, who retires June 30 after 30 years as a Merced County UC ANR advisor and county director.
Jordon told Wines and Vines that she expects water use, conservation and irrigation issues to be topics of interest to growers in her territory, which she estimates contains about 90,000 acres of vineyards.
However, her focus, she said, will "ultimately be determined by what best serves the growers."
Ferry-Abee has deep valley roots. She is a native of Easton and her great-grandfather was a pest inspector for Sun Maid. Ferry-Abee earned a bachelor's degree at Fresno State and a doctorate degree at UC Davis.
El kereamy hails from Egypt. He visited the San Joaquin Valley on a scientific tour organized by the Egyptian ministry of agriculture and dreamed of one day working there. El kereamy graduated from Faculty of Agriculture, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt, and earned a Ph.D. in Toulouse, France.
Both new viticulture advisors expressed their interest in the extension and research aspects of their jobs.
Said El kereamy: "The relation between the two activities is tight and I enjoy being in the vineyard to help the growers, design my experiments and carry the research at the same time."
A new UCCE viticulture advisor for Fresno County has also been hired. George Zhuang, whose first day was Monday, Jan. 5, was introduced to wine, table and raisin grape farmers at the annual San Joaquin Grape Symposium Jan. 7 in Easton.
But times have changed, Reuters reported. David Block, the head of the university's viticulture and enology department, said about 60 percent of their graduate students this year are women.
Edwards now has her own winery in Sonoma County's Russian River Valley and her own clone.
"Its formal name is UCD clone 37, but everyone around here calls it Merry's clone. And right now we're surrounded by it," she said, pointing to the acres of vineyards just outside the winery window./span>
Within a quarter century of the county's 1861 establishment, it boasted 600 acres of vineyards. One vineyard was purchased in the late 19th century by flamboyant British actress Lillie Langtry. She sold the property in 1906. Prohibition and the vineyard's destruction soon followed.
But according to local legend, Langtry's legacy lives.
"Rumor has it that one of California’s oldest vines continues to grow on the Langtry Estate at the top of Tephra Ridge. It is thought to be part of Mrs. Langtry’s original vineyard," the article said. "Professor Ohmo of UC Davis, one of the world’s experts on viticulture – now deceased – came across the vine some years ago, smiled and said, 'This is one of the oldest vines in California and I think it is a Syrah.'"
The report didn't source these rumors. However, a 1989 Los Angeles Times article confirms some of the facts. The Times article said Guenoc Vineyards in Lake County discovered eight vines believed to have been planted by Lillie Langtry.
Reporter Dan Berger wrote that UC Davis viticulture professor Harold Olmo (spelled differently than in the Lake County News account) visited the ranch and said he felt one of the old vines might be original Syrah, a grape of the Rhone. Langtry's wine maker, French-born and -trained Henri Deschelles, had imported some grapevines from Europe, and this red-wine vine might have been one of them.
When discovered, the old vines had not been cultivated or irrigated for more than 80 years, but survived and outlived even big trees that had grown in their midst. One vine had wrapped itself around a pine tree and strangled it.
The Times said Olmo took some of the leaves and seeds back to Davis in order to pin point the variety and determine whether the genetic stock could be converted into a commercial crop.
In his obituary, Olmo was referred to as the "Indiana Jones of horticulture" and quoted as declaring, "Give me enough time and I'll grow a great grape on the moon!" Alas, there is no mention whether he was able to confirm the origin of the supposed Lillie Langtry Syrah.