An international consortium of scientists has managed to sequence the complete genetic sequence of vitis vinifera. The news is at once amazing and depressing. It’s amazing as an example of scientific progress. As far as wine is concerned, it’s not that clear.
Scientists who have performed this small wonder point out that it could be used to improve resistance against diseases (which seems good), but also to select flavor characteristics and enhance them. Good grief. What’s next? Shiraz with extra pepper? Loire sauvignons “improved” with New Zealand grapefruit and green pepper aromas?
I personally find that cultured yeasts are enough of a problem as it is. If these genetic advances are used to make wine more “reliable”, in an industrial sense, it would be quite a shame. Call me old fashioned, but to me, wine should be a product of nature in all its variations and diversity, first and foremost, not the predictable result of a human calculation.