If you’ve already seen the lead story in the Chronicle’s Wine section, I know what you must be thinking: “Geez, Derrick, how cliched can you get? A story about vineyard nurseries?”
No, wait. I’m thinking of a different topic. In fact, the small-but-crucial nursery industry rarely gets coverage in the consumer press; I’m not sure how much coverage it gets in the trade press. But just about any vine you see in a vineyard comes from one of the handful of nurseries in the state, and lots of their stock comes from a small department at UC Davis.
I guess I have a thing for geeky wine topics — reverse osmosis, barrel alternatives, heritage cabernet clones — and I eagerly said yes when my editor asked if I wanted to cover this topic. I got a more in-depth look at how vineyards get vines, and I hope I conveyed that to the readers (by the way, be sure to check out the pictures as well). Along the way, I realized, more than ever, that plants are just crazy weird. You lop them into bits, glue them onto some other plant, and they start growing just like normal. Weird.