It never ceases to amaze me how stupid human beings can get. The latest example of the nadir of our sense and sensitivity? Someone took an axe to one of the world's oldest grapevines, a singular vine thought to be at least 500 years-old and the likely ancestor of the grape variety we know as Gruner Veltliner.
This is the first I've heard of this vine, which was apparently discovered in 2000 outside the village of St. Georgen. As the news story which related it's destruction notes, it had survived several wars, the scourge of phylloxera, droughts, and who knows what else, only to fall victim to some asshole with an axe.
As an aside, I find it a little humorous that someone bothered to estimate the value of the vine at $136,000. Doesn't that imply that someone might have been willing to pay that much for it? Short of one of those silly "adopt-a-vine" programs that thankfully most people have realized aren't worth anyone's time or money, I have a hard time figuring out how you might put a price on what seems to me to be a priceless thing.
On the one hand, we shouldn't get too sentimental about a plant. On the other hand, this thing was definitely a piece of botanical and cultural history. Why anyone would want to destroy it is hard to fathom. It didn't seem to belong to anyone in particular, so the idea that this was the rural Austrian equivalent of slashing someone's tires seems unlikely. It will be interesting to see if they catch the perpetrator, and what the motivation ends up being.
Chances are, however, it was some young drunkard from the region who decided to take out his own personal problems on a symbolic piece of wood that could offer no resistance and the personal satisfaction of having appalled a lot of people.
I'll be drinking some Gruner Veltliner in solidarity shortly.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Vinography Images: Into the Tank 72 Pinot Noirs on a Sunny Afternoon: Tasting at IPNC 2014 The Great White South: An Introduction to Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Vinography Images: Along the Row Time For The World's Best Prison Wine Coastal Diamonds: The Rieslings of Oregon Vinography Images: The Red Window Taking Celebrity Wine to the Next Level Vinography Images: The Blue Berry 2014 Family Winemakers Tasting: August 17, San Mateo
Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 KirÃ¡lyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy