kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits & lifestyle writer / wine educator

703.203.9463

Sunscreen for grapes?

Decanter reported yesterday that the winemaker for Quintessa wines in Napa Valley is spraying his grapes with a sunscreen type mixture to protect them from the scorching CA sun.

The mixture contains aloe vera--long known for its skin soothing propeties, algae--which has been known to block harmful UV rays, and yucca--a South American root vegetable traditionally used in alternative medicine (and cooking...)

Farmers in CA say this is a first, though it totally makes sense. If you can protect the grapes from too much sun exposure in hot climates (especially with global warming on the rise), and seal in moisture to prevent drought, it's a no-brainer. And, apparently, this salve won't affect the taste of the wine in the bottle.

If this is a success, I can see useful applications in other hot, arid wine-making areas of the world, such as parts of Australia, Spain, Portugal, Argentina and Southern France.