Send In the “GIs”: The U.S. Defends its Vinous Territory

wine1.jpg What goes around, comes around. Wine tasting is one metaphor; you draw the first sip up one side of your tongue, aerating it noisily in a way that would have gotten you banished from your childhood dinner table, and let it slide down the other, savoring all its flavors and, if you’re in that kind of a setting, searching for coherent words to describe them all.

That sip of wine goes around, then it comes around, then you have to either swallow it or spit it out. Similarly, the U.S. has finally come around, at least a little, to the European perspective on identifying wines with place names – because recently our vintners have, figuratively, walked a mile in the Europeans’ vats.
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Landraces: On the “verge” of becoming crops

Road verges. Windbreaks. The vicinities of abandoned fields, market grounds, and storage sheds. When most people think of biodiversity conservation, these are not the places that come to mind. Much more familiar are wild-land conservation areas – rainforests, wetlands, tundra, even tidepools and undersea canyons – places virtually untouched by human occupation. However, the smaller, humbler areas around traditional farming communities are sources of agricultural biodiversity (“agro-biodiversity”). Agro-biodiversity hasn’t had as much global press as wild-land biodiversity – it’s less photogenic, for one thing – but it affects the security of the food supply in agricultural societies. As climates, soil compositions, and local dominant wild species (both crop-eating pests and competing weeds) change, a crop is only as resilient as its gene pool is deep.
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