Stress; It’s a Matter of Perspective

A little stress on a vine can be a good thing. The more a vine has to struggle to get food, the lower its yield, but the more flavorful and intense its grapes will be. That is why the best vineyards are planted in nutrient-poor soil. Stressing the vine ultimately creates a better wine. But some types of grape vines can endure more stress than others. For different types of vines, stress is relative.

My husband came out of his office after talking on the phone with a co-worker who was having some work trouble. ‘Poor Ron,’ my husband started. I was in the midst of reading an email from a friend who is working overseas as what I would call a citizen soldier, though he calls it, ‘a dirty, rotten contractor.’ Before my husband could finish his thought, I said, ‘Poor Hugh,’ and began to read the contents of the email, ‘We’re expecting a few days of rockets since Ramadan ends tomorrow. One hit our hangar recently. It was a direct hit on a helicopter full of fuel, so it torched the entire building. I had just landed, and saw it hit. Fortunately, everyone was at lunch, so no injuries.’ When I finished reading, I realized that I had interrupted my husband, ‘I’m sorry. What’s wrong with poor Ron?’ ‘Nothing,’ my husband responded, ‘Nothing at all.’

Cabernet Sauvignon is very thick-skinned. It is a sturdy vine that can do well all over the world in many types of climates and soils. Cabernet Sauvignon can endure a lot of stress, and still maintain its flavor typicity and character. Pinot Noir, also known as ‘the heartbreak grape,’ is thinned-skinned, and quite delicate as its nickname implies. Some stress will improve the quality of the grapes, but the genetically unstable vine is pretty particular when it comes to climate. She is a bit of a diva that will wilt or mutate fairly easily when faced with too much stress in her environment.

There are not many grapes that can endure the stress that the brave Cabernet Sauvignon can endure and still maintain its taste and character. It is truly a noble grape