FrankenWines? I Think Not

Here is an example of why I am generally not opposed to Genetically Modified Organisms (generally called GMO’s, called "Frankenfoods" to others, and dubbed "Progress" some.) Over and over we see examples of Progesss GMO’s that can aid in significantly reducing obstacles to growing better and more efficient plants.

With regard to vines, here are just a few of the modifications to grapes I’d like to see:

-vines immune to the effects of Piece’s Disease
-Vines less susceptible to mold and rot
-vines immune to phylloxera
-vines incapable of producing grapes that can be described as "unctuous"
-vines that are self-prunning and carry their own cuttings to the burn pile
-vines that permanantly stay that golden-red color that appears usually during fall
-vines incapable of producing grapes that can be transformed into 15.0%-plus alcohol wines

There is currently a campaign to ban all GMOs in Sonoma County. Such a ban was also passed in Mendocino County north of Sonoma County. And you can bet more bans on GMOs will be introduced in other areas of California and the United States.

I’ve yet to see a compelling arguement that suggests these bans on GMO are more help than hindrence when introduced judiciously and monitored. My hope is that the path to better wine through gentetics is not blocked.

Posted In: Wine Business


5 Responses

  1. Derrick Schneider - July 11, 2005

    ” when introduced judiciously and monitored”
    Ah, well now, that’s the problem isn’t it? No one’s figured out a good way to do that. Or no one’s bothered. My problem with GMO’s is not the technology: it’s the fact that the companies that do genetic engineering have set things up so that they can release things into the field long before they’ve adequately figured out the impact. I think “Against the Grain” details how Monsanto in particular gets away with these things. Basically, they arranged early on to get laws passed that gave them a lot of leeway. So they’ll release something, higgledy-piggledy, and then — oops! — the gene’s moved into other plants, it’s devasted some other local fauna that no one thought about, and so forth. People are so reactionary against genetic engineering because these kinds of slip-ups are commonplace.
    So come up with an effective way to actually monitor these things, and then I imagine people will have less of a problem with it.

  2. huge - July 11, 2005

    “-vines incapable of producing grapes that can be described as “unctuous””
    BWAHAHAHA……that’s a classic!

  3. Jack - July 11, 2005

    To me, the problem with any GMO plant is that there’s really nothing to prevent it from spreading or mutating. So the farmer (or just anybody) who lives near someone growing a GMO crop may be totally screwed. (Lives nearby can be a mile away with wind, etc. Or more!) And how can you monitor this? You can’t.
    BigAg/BigChem has no interest in such…they just want to sell their products. It’s not like they will every be held accountable for anything that goes wrong. Can you imagine the top 50 executives at a BigAg company in jail (for a long time) for releasing a product that proved very hazardous to the environment? Yeah, they might have to pay money someday…but that never, ever seems to deter it from happening again.
    (And I do understand the local farmer’s rationale – that they should be able to plant anything they want so that they can compete in the local and world market.)

  4. tom merle - July 11, 2005

    Mendocino and Sonoma’s Chicken Little thinking is appropriate for that part of the world. They have the luxury of stipulating that proponents of GMO must prove beyond any doubt that no damage might occur unto 15 generations.
    But in other parts of the world, citizens are required and therefore willing to take some risks, victims though they are of all the Big Bertha’s ruining the earth. Context is all.

  5. Corktease - July 13, 2005

    The Case For Franken-grapes

    Here’s a posting via FERMENTATIONS about the improvements that could be attained through genetically modified vines. I agree that if we could avoid common diseases and pests the benefits would be fantastic…trouble is that these GM crops tend to behav…

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