Fall is a lot of people's favorite season: crisp cooling weather, seasonal food, holidays approaching. For the farmers of the northern hemisphere it means harvest time, a ritual as ancient as civilization itself and something that unites communities of growers all over. In the wine world there's something extra magical about the process. Clusters of berries of all different varieties grown in different climates all over the world go through roughly the same transformation. At the moment of peak ripeness human beings break the skins to let the yeast that have been living on the outside of the berries in for a delicious meal. In exchange for this assistance yeast turn sugary juice along with skins, seeds and sometimes stems into a fantastic elixir that has served humans for thousands of years in the practical sense as a safe and reliable source of calories and water before refrigeration and other modern food safety technologies. But that's just the beginning of wine's place in our history and culture. It is of course an integral part of many cuisines, an inspiration to artists and poets for centuries, and a commodity that has driven whole economies. This fall, and every fall for the last few thousand years, in cellars across the world a symbiotic creation of human and yeast is continued in the grand tradition. And many of us are lucky enough to be nourished by it.
Matt Mitton writes most of these because Steve is shy.