Ξ October 23rd, 2009 | → 1 Comments | ∇ A Day at a Time, International Terroirs, PORTUGAL, Wine History, Wine News |
Tomorrow morning I shall be leaving for Portugal and the European Wine Bloggers Conference (EWBC). It has been my great fortune to have been selected by ViniPortugal to attend. Arriving Sunday morning, the 25th, will provide me precious days prior to the EWBC, beginning Oct. 30th, to productively explore the wine world of perhaps Europe’s least understood region. Indeed, Conference organizers, the folks at Catavino, Ryan and Gabriella Opaz, and Robert McIntosh of the blog Wine Conversation made a brilliant decision in choosing Lisbon.
Owing to a combination of circumstances, both commercial and historical, Portuguese wines, their origins, distinctions and terroirs, have simply not entered into the popular imagination, certainly not the North American imagination, as vividly as they deserve. It is hoped by this writer that much useful information will be generated by the 117 bloggers attending the conference, a small but necessary step toward a greater international recognition of Portugal’s rich wine traditions. I am pleased to be a part of this effort.
By arriving days earlier I will have an opportunity to work on the following subjects:
1) The cork industry of the Alentejo, including a trip to the cork forests and a visit to a production facility. The importance of cork forest ecology, the fascinating variety of life this biome contains is of special interest to me.
2) The cultural contrasts (and even conflicts) between traditional producers and their ‘modern’, more technologically-minded brethren deserves a close look. This area of research dovetails with larger questions of the preservation of terroir, the threat of the potential loss of the same by homogenizing technological innovation.
3) Biodynamic and organic approaches, conventional viticulture, especially in the context of the effects of global climate change. Water issues. I hope to have something worthwhile to say on these matters.
4) Also of great interest will be a look into the history of the practical tools and architecture of Portugal’s long wine history. Tractors, irrigation tech, the layout of wineries, barrel construction, etc., the history and evolution of tools, this is a particular fascination of mine. Anybody who knows of the varied styles of barbed wire used across America’s West the past 150 years and their purposes, for example, will understand what I am getting at.
5) Class and ethnicity of farm workers. Their labor unions, healthcare, housing, all will be explored as best as I am able.
6) Did I mention the wines?! And the food?! Yes, I believe I have.
To be submerged in Portuguese culture, to lose myself down unknown streets, to dissolve in strange pleasures, this, too, is the point. With luck and a bit of resourcefulness, I hope to end up in territories so remote that not even an infernal Google GPS tech will be unable to get a fix. This I will do.