MOG Blog

Can Wine Grapes Be Grown Without Chemicals?
I am so tired of reading articles reporting that growers who farm organically or Biodynamically are growing their wine grapes without the use of chemicals. I am not criticizing these growers, mind you, but the writers who write about them.

It is an inaccurate statement and misrepresentative to say that these “green” grapegrowers don’t use chemicals in their farming. It is inaccurate because it is an impossible thing to do. In fact, one cannot grow anything without the use of chemicals. This line of thinking implies that growers who farm without the use of chemicals are the good guys, growing their wine grapes in harmony with nature, while those that farm using chemicals are the bad guys poisoning the workers, the consumers, polluting our rivers and streams and killing all the wildlife.

Is Sustainable Winegrowing Sustainable?

The sustainability of growing wine grapes on the North Coast of California has taken some serious heat recently: first in an opinion piece by Ernie Carpenter, a former Sonoma County supervisor, in the July 15 Sonoma Press Democrat, followed by an op-ed by Shepherd Bliss in July’s Sonoma County Gazette. Some strong words were used to chastise the wine industry, likening it to “Big Oil,” calling it “Big Alcohol,” dominated by “massive corporations” “promoting and controlling politics in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.” Accusing the industry of green washing and likening it to hog washing. Sonoma County grapegrowers were accused of using tax payers’ money to advertise their green-washing message, while at the same time poisoning nematodes, weeds, birds and critters, drilling 1,000-foot-deep wells and taking as much water as it wants while not paying workers a living wage. Wow! The wine industry dominates politics in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.? Hmm…..


Drones in Vineyards -- Technology Is Not the Limiting Factor

The trade media is bombarding us with messages about how drones are going to revolutionize agriculture.  Winegrape growers seem to be a particular target.  Is this because the media thinks grape growers have money burning a hole in their pockets?  In any case, one is left with the impression that some technological breakthroughs have occurred recently to put us on the precipice of drones changing how we farm.  Likely it’s the fact that the price of a good drone has come down significantly.