A few weeks ago, I touched on the fact that Cabernet Sauvignon variety is the result of a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. This was actually discovered by geneticists at UC Davis in the early 2000’s using a method called genetic typing. For many of the wines we’ve all come to love, this is really the only way to know their origins, since most of them have been cultivated for hundreds and even thousands of years.
Furthermore, the more mysterious varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, may have simply come from unassisted cross-pollination. It is equally possible that it is the result of the arduous and possibly decades long labor-of-love by a single farmer or family. Which would include interplanting the parent varieties for cross-pollination, seed selecting, culling inferior seedlings, growing the vines to maturity, micro-vinting wine batches from each individual plant, etc. All of this, only to end up with possibly one vine that produces the choice wine, which would then be further propagated. I must say, as a farmer myself, there is a lot of respect and appreciation for such dedication. Essentially, contained in these bottles of delight is the hard work of not just the hard work of the workers and vintners of today, but also the work of viticultutalists from centuries past. Next time (or every time) you pop open a bottle, take a moment to reflect on this… you’ll appreciate it all the more.