In Ten Years, We May All Be Drinking “Ruby Cab” From Texas: Here’s Why

Whether you prefer the “doom and gloom” approach to writing about climate change, or perhaps yearn for more of a “think critically and talk solutions” framework, there is no denying (unless you’re our sorry excuse for a fake president) that it’s happening. With regard to agriculture especially, there will be drastic and far-reaching consequences of rising temperatures, and the world is going to have to respond.

I’m a big believer in bottom-up change, and I think it’s interesting to glimpse what’s happening in the winemaking world, to see how people are anticipating the effects of global warming. That’s one of the reasons I honed in on a young woman named Krista Scruggs for my latest piece on Vice MUNCHIES. She is working with hybrid grapes in off-the-beaten-path viticultural regions like Vermont and Texas, despite having started out her career with Constellation Brands in Central California. Part of Krista’s mission, which she has adopted while apprenticing for the passionate and studious Deirdre Heekin of La Garagista, is to prove that hybrid grapes are not “second class citizens” to vitis vinifera. As we continue to observe the effects of climate change, it’s worth asking whether her quest may become more and more relevant.

But the other reason I wanted to write about Krista is that she doesn’t fit the mold of your typical winemaker. The wine industry is not only overwhelmingly male, as has often been pointed out; it’s also mainly made up of white, heteronormative people. Let’s hope that increased diversity in this industry, as more people like Krista come into the fold, will lead to deeper and more progressive conversations about issues like sustainability, climate change, and supporting innovation from the ground up (literally).

Read my feature about Krista Scruggs and her quest to prove the worth of hybrid grapes on Vice MUNCHIES, here. In ten years, we may all be drinking Ruby Cab from Texas instead of Napa Valley Cabernet–and in the best case scenario, that won’t be just because of climate change; it will be due to the delicious, exciting wines coming from young winemakers like Krista. Happy Friday!

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Immigrants Make American Wine Great

Screen Shot 2017-04-07 at 9.14.46 PMThere was a moment after Trump’s election when food and drink writers stopped working for a few weeks, frozen–does our work even matter? Aren’t these topics so petty that we should now cease to scribble our hard-researched sentences on so-and-so chef, or this ancient grape, and just crawl under a rock and let the political writers do their work? Someone tweeted: “We are all covering politics now, no matter what your beat.” I haven’t forgotten that statement.

For Vice MUNCHIES, I reported on recent raids on immigrant communities across the Northwest, through the lens of wine. The lens also could have been agriculture more broadly, but of course, wine is my strongest beat. I’m glad I was able to shed some light on the injustices happening in our country right now through a subject I’m knowledgable about. It’s atrocious that (at least) three Dreamers–people whose status was protected under Obama in a program known as DACA, established in 2012. Read my article on MUNCHIES here. If any of you reading this live in the Northwest, I would strongly suggest calling your local elected officials who may have some sway in those individuals’ fates.

Being-Together, With Wine, And Supporting Domestic Winemakers

Earlier today, I sat down to work on the article about orange wine that I started last week, and I thought: “Ugh. Who even cares?”

It’s hard to reconcile writing about wine, food, the stuff of revelry, with the events of this week. It’s still too raw for me to formulate cogent words about what I’m feeling, or how I see my life changed by this election.

But I do want to suggest that, for those of us who find beauty, culture, and intellect within wine and food, that we hold really tight to that. I don’t think I have exactly the same feelings as I did four days ago, with regard to wine, food, or life in general. But, and while I’m not quite ready to parse it all out and dive in, I do think that wine and food encourage community, and this is what we need right now. Not that we have to get wasted, or overindulge–but rather, take time to share a meal or a special bottle with someone, or some people, you know and care about. Talk about the wine if you want, or not; it’s the being-together that’s most important.

On this note, I do want to mention an upcoming dinner that I know still has a few seats left: the Division Wine Co dinner, at Rebelle on Monday night. One half of this urban winemaking team, the passionate and knowledgable Tom Monroe will be there to talk about these delicious Chenins, Gamays, and Pinots. Tom and his business partner Kate Norris are incubating a lot of Oregon’s future natural winemakers in their urban winery in Portland. If there ever was a time to support our domestic winemakers, now would be it. I’ll be at the dinner, and hope to see you there. Below is the menu and line-up of wines. 

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