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seasons_mag_autumn_2017

We are a weekly newspaper serving the communities of Exeter, Lindsay, and Woodlake California.

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fresh? G rapes are considered by some to be the most important fruit crop grown in the history of the world, partly because of its role as the muse that inspired the rise of civilization. Grapes have been cultivated since some of the ear- liest recorded civilizations were formed and fermented into a spirit known throughout the ages for its physical, emotional, mental and spiritual benefits. Tracking the migration of grape vine cultivation and wine produc- tion is to follow the spread of culture. Wine was the spirit of the gods and the inspiration of live art. Dionysus, the Greek god of grape harvest, wine and some its byproducts (drunkenness and fertility), was the inspiration for Greek theater. More than any other Olympian, Dionysus had a cult following that gave rise to festivals in his honor. e most prominent of these in the City of Dionysia included theatrical contests. e word thespian comes from espis, a Diony- sian priest who is credited with the birth of theater in the 6th century. He is also widely acknowledged as the first actor in a play and the first known winner of a theatrical award in 534 b.c. Take that Tony! e great Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato, who are regarded as some of the greatest intellectual minds in the history of mankind, regarded wine, if par- taken in moderation, as a way to open your mind to pure thought by removing the fear of failure. Jesus could have worked his miracle by turning water into anything he wanted, but chose wine. To this day, Christians use consecrated wine as a symbol of His blood during the Eucharist. Drops and spikes in wine production and consump- tion coincide with the rise and fall of empires. e Ro- man Empire vastly improved upon the Greek's wine making and storage techniques as they surpassed the Greeks as a dominant world power. A massive drop in French wine production happened during the 100 years war, which weakened the country's hold on the vassal kings of England. America's rise to a major player in the world's economy coincided with an infestation of grape- vines that nearly destroyed the European market, an empty cup that American farmers were ready to fill. In the last decade, China has emerged as an economic pow- erhouse just as wine consumption there has grown expo- nentially. As of 2014, China was the world's fifth-largest consumer of wine and largest consumer of red wine. California produces about 90 percent of the nation's wine, is the fourth largest wine producer in the world and is considered the world's sixth largest economy. Golden State wine is also considered some of the best in the world. But none of that is possible without grapes, many of which are grown right here in our backyard. e Central Valley, in- cluding Tulare County, grows a third of California's white wine grapes and a quarter of the state's red wine crop. Today, wine remains a status symbol, but not neces- sarily one of wealth, but of culture. Grapes have always been sophisticated, but wine is no longer aristocratic. e differences from one varietal to another are subtle and take a keen sense to distinguish, like a conductor hon- ing in on a poorly tuned player amidst a symphony of sound. While previous gen- erations may have judged a wine by its price tag, more modern views praise those who can dis- tinguish when an inexpen- sive bottle is on par with a pretentious label. When it comes to wine, California and Tulare County are crushing it! What 's Grapes Text by reggie ellis

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