"How different soils affect the development of different flavors in wine grapes isn't known. It's hard to extrapolate results back to causations because of the many variables in the winemaking process. Scientifically, you would have to control for all of the variables." -Tom Jones, winemaker at Lava Cap Winery.
If this sounds uncommonly heady to you, welcome to the backseats of the science classroom where I happen to reside. Actually if it sounds like Mr. Jones must be a geologist or something, well, he is! Actually all of the Joneses are. Lava Cap Winery was started in 1981 by Dr. David Jones, paleontologist at UC Berkeley and longtime member of the U.S. Geological Survey. Sons, Tom and Charlie, winemaker and vineyard manager respectively, are both geologists. Even mother, Jeanne, is a geologist and... a couple grandsons doing undergraduate work have aspirations toward the same goal. Strange family...as seen from the back of the classroom.
David Jones contributed to our understanding of plate techtonics with the finding that intact plate fragments which break off upon colliding with another plate, can attach to that plate resulting in unique geological soils separate from what lies around them. So...if you were particularly interested in highly concentrated volcanic soils for the purpose of starting a vineyard, this approach may be advantageous. David Jones, a home winemaker in the 1970s, went looking for just that thing and struck gold just outside of Placerville in the Sierra foothills of eastern California and if that place sounds remotely familiar it's because that's where the 1848 gold rush took place.
Back on January 25th of '11 we blogged about Renwood Winery of the same area and I bring up that blog now because in that one we discovered the pathos implicit in the immigrant experience. The Italian immigrants (and others) carried their grapevines on their backs as they traversed the continent to seek their fortune in gold. For most all of them that wasn't going to happen and instead California struck gold with the wine industry started by them and others like them. Most of these immigrants never thought about starting a wine industry with their vines. It was just about cultural sustenance.
Please join us Friday June 27th between 5 and 8pm when Taylor Moore of Eagle Rock Distributing presents a tasting of Lava Cap California wines and Small Vineyards Italians.
And for gosh sakes become a follower of this blog before it's too late!