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The AGgregator

A Toast to Our Wineries and Wine Grape Growers

As a science, wine making is fairly straightforward: grow fruit, press out the juice, ferment, drink. As an art, though, some would argue that this millennia-old process is still being perfected.

As with their counterparts overseas, American grape growers and wine makers carefully consider nuanced adjustments that most of us can’t recognize even as we enjoy the results. Growers need to consider how much sun, wind and water each particular vineyard section receives and decide what, and when, any micronutrients should be added. Some wine grape growers are turning to soil scientists to enhance their practice of biodynamics, the “beyond-organic growing method that views a farm as a living ecosystem.” As for the vintners, they need to determine which grapes to use for each of their wines, and if they don’t grow the fruit themselves, where they should source it. They also decide everything from how long to let each wine ferment to which aging casks to use for each wine variety.

At the same time that they work diligently to perfect their art, wine grape growers and wineries face external challenges: environmental issues, changing regulations, labor demands, and business pressures ranging from pricing to domestic and international competition to export restrictions. The 2014 National Grape and Wine Policy Conference brings together industry leaders from across the U.S. to discuss the array of politics and policies that the industry faces. The event is co-sponsored by WineAmerica and the Winegrape Growers of America, a Farm Credit National Contributions Partners that represents the interests of U.S. wine grape growers.

Nearly 3,000 commercial vineyards are found in the U.S. While California is the largest producer, wine grapes are grown in states ranging from Oregon to Maryland, Texas to Nebraska. Wineries, which use the grapes to create wine, are even more prevalent: every state boasts at least one winery, with a total of 5,000 in the nation. Farm Credit is an essential partner to wine producers from coast to coast including Sangiacomo Family Vineyards in California, Serpent Ridge Vineyard in Maryland, and Duchman Family Winery in Texas. To these and the thousands of other growers and vintners, we say cheers and thank you for your delicious contributions!