Cows vs. Grapes in Texas
KRISTV, a news station in Corpus Christi, TX, has reported on a growing conflict between ranchers and grape growers near the town of Driftwood, in the Texas Hill Country. Seems the ranchers are fond of zapping their grazing land at the end of the season with the disquietingly named herbicide 2,4-D. This 2,4-D—apparently the most widely used herbicide worldwide—isn't particularly harmful...um...except that the EPA points out that it can, er, cause nervous system damage after short-term exposure above the maximum contaminant level, at least in drinking water.
They haven't tested it in wine.
Anyway, the burgeoning wine business in the area is all hetted up because the 2,4-D might blow over on the wind and kill the vines (it's good at killing broad-leaf weeds and woody plants). They seem to be less worried about it killing the drinkers of the wines made from the vines, but hey, maybe I'm just a paranoid guy.
It occurs to me that a good, old-fashioned range war might be just the thing to get a little more publicity for Texas wines. Speaking as a native Texan myself.
I'll add that, while I haven't been to any of the wineries right around Driftwood, both Sister Creek Vineyards and Flat Creek Estate are making a range of good wines (I'm particularly fond of Flat Creek's luscious Supertexan Sangiovese, and not just for its clever name). And if you're in the area, you'd be nuts not to stop off and have dinner at Café 909 in Marble Falls. I wrote in the magazine a while back about how absurdly delicious I thought chef Mark Schmidt's Frozen Pistachio Parfait was when I went there last year; what I didn't have room to add in that little feature was how good the rest of his food is, too.