As if we didn't have enough concerns in our day-to-day life, now comes news of two factors that could severely limit the availability of our favorite fermented grape juice products.
The first concerns the wine industry in Chile. Of course, compared to the devastation of whole communities in the quake-rocked nation, Americans' access to good cheap red wine shouldn't amount to a hill of beans.
But speaking strictly selfishly, accounts coming out of the region describe the destruction of millions of bottles of already processed wine and the collapse of transportation infrastructure that could cripple Chile's wine export industry -- which was just coming into its own as a global powerhouse. I guess the right answer is to donate to the entire Chilean relief effort and continue to support the country's wine industry as product becomes available. But we might not be able to depend on bargain prices again for awhile. Just a heads up to you all.
Closer to home, news comes that apparently a European grapevine moth has infested the Napa Valley, leading to a quarantine announcement for 162 acres of prime grape-growing property in Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties. (As if California wine prices weren't escalating fast enough.)
The moths were first detected in late fall right before the peak of the harvest. Officials are using traps to monitor the spread of the pest. The moth's larvae are the grape killers; they eat the plant's flowers and burrow inside the berries to feed.
Nobody can predict for certain what the effect of these two situations will be, but I recommend you go ahead and visit your favorite local wine shop and stock up. It can't hurt.