Thursday, April 16, 2020

New video: Lise Asimont, vineyard consultant

For my latest Intoxicating Conversation, I wanted to know about the state of vineyard labor in Sonoma and Napa Counties. So I asked someone who knows that topic very well: independent vineyard consultant Lise Asimont. And she didn't disappoint: she called around to vineyard managers around the state to prepare herself for the conversation.

Asimont, as you will see, is very impressive. She gives a frank rundown of many of the current issues with farm labor, including the closing of the US Embassy in Mexico for interviews for new workers, and how it would be for out-of-work restaurant staffers to transition to working in vineyards. But vineyard owners have to do the work now because the vines won't wait.

"Just because we have a pandemic doesn't mean that nature has stopped," she says.

Lise talks fast because she has a lot to say. She talks about how vineyards will have to consider more mechanization, but not necessarily for harvesting, and how her neighbors in Healdsburg give her dirty looks sometimes when they see her getting in her car to go out every morning. Presumably they just cannot imagine this woman running around vineyards getting her hands dirty.

Perhaps my favorite part of the conversation is when she tells me a story I hadn't heard before, about how the daughter of two physician parents -- her mother is a groundbreaking physician from the Philippines, and she is a first-generation American -- became a vineyard savant. You might be surprised (I was) when you find out how her parents reacted when she informed them she wasn't going to medical school.

It wouldn't be a conversation with Lise Asimont if she didn't pack 45 minutes of information into 30 minutes. Check it out!

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1 comment:

guren said...

Thanks for another interesting conversation, Blake. Ms. Asimont's mother and father both belong in the parental Hall of Fame.