Friday, May 11, 2012
Wine without preservatives: a moral dilemma
How much effort should I make every day in helping spread knowledge about wine?
My friend rents out a room in her San Francisco home periodically and has managed to get clients from Japan. A woman visiting her this week wants to go to wine country, but doesn't want to rent a car. My friend knows I wrote a book in Japanese about California wine and asked for my advice on which wine country bus tour is best. I told my friend, who can use the income, that she should agree on a price with her guest and take her herself.
She asked where I recommended. I suggested Dry Creek Valley. My friend likes Zinfandel and so does her guest. Dry Creek is rural and pretty, the wineries aren't pretentious, the wines are good. I know she'd like Healdsburg, which is a great place to eat lunch. And it's an easy day trip.
Then my friend said, "Which wineries do you recommend? She wants to buy wine without preservatives."
Apologies to Bella and Preston; I was going to send her your way. But instead I shut down and refused to recommend any.
I probably should have gone ahead and sent her to Preston, which is as passionate about sustainable farming as anyone, and where she could have gotten into an intelligent discussion about the strengths and limitations of organics and biodynamics.
But I just didn't feel like explaining in detail to my friend about sulfites, which are a crucial component in wine -- especially if you plan to lug that wine from Sonoma County back to Japan.
I confess, I was ticked off at unthinking leftists last week, after black-clad vandals on an Occupy march trashed my neighborhood, breaking windows at an art gallery and independent restaurants while leaving McDonald's untouched. "Wine without preservatives" is a slogan that fits right in with the unthinking left.
I suppose I could have sent her a link to this story I did on "organic wine" for the LA Times. I could have asked for the Japanese woman's email and spoken directly with her in Japanese.
I could also have sent her to Coturri, which is about as good as a no-sulfite winery gets.
Instead, feeling a little weary, I excused myself from the discussion.
But now I feel guilty. What should I have done? What would you have said?
Posted by W. Blake Gray at 6:00 AM