These are troubled times for wine growers around the world. If it's not too hot, it's too cold. If its not too rainy, its the biggest drought on record for centuries. Maybe there's somewhere that grape growing is always idyllic with no problems (Thailand? oops, no, they have tsunamis..) but I haven't heard of it.
Some of the most severe and vexing problems facing modern winemakers are the ones that seem to come from out of left field (no pun intended). In the America West it's the glassy winged sharpshooter which rears its ugly miniscule head every once in a while; in South Africa it's massive flocks of starlings that eat a lot of the grapes; in Italy it's biblical plagues of locusts devouring fruit.
And now, the perfect villain. A black mask, a swastika in its past, and a penchant for ripe Riesling. The Nazi Raccoon.
Once you stop chuckling (I still erupt into giggles every time I read the headline), I'll tell you that the raccoons were introduced to Germany by Nazi air force chief Hermann Goering in 1934 to 'enrich' Germany's fauna. They have no natural predators, are extremely adaptable to both urban and rural settings, and they breed like rabbits.
Now, apparently thousands of them have descended upon certain areas of vineyard land in Brandenburg and have literally ruined the harvest. Tough times for grape growers indeed, and ultimately no laughing matter, as people's livelihoods are on the line. But why did they have to be Nazi raccoons... ?
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
Warm Up: Tannins I'll Drink to That: Winemaker Andy Erickson Vinography Unboxed: Week of April 17, 2016 Vinography Images: Bright Emerald Warm Up: Hermitage I'll Drink to That: Winemaker Jean-Louis Chave World's Greatest Sommelier Success Stories Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 4/17/16 I'll Drink to That: Christian Seely of AXA Millésimes A Rescued Vintage: 2013 Burgundy Highlights from La Paulée
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune