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All the "w"s regarding Wine

with John Draney of Omaha Wine Company


View the Print Media Version online now to enjoy the complete "Magazine Experience."


So I poured a glass of wine for a friend the other night at my house, and was swirling it around completely unaware that the swirling (which is second nature to me) was an object of fascination to him.



“Are you nervous?” he asked, “Why are you moving that glass all the time?”Wine, and everything about the rituals of drinking wine, can be intimidating and loaded with self-serving pomposity that suggests an arrogance which may have caused some to avoid sharing this best of all alcoholic beverages. Those who do finally make the attempt must then choose from literally thousands of choices available in and around Omaha.

I thought it might be worthwhile to write a series, based on the letter ‘W’  that would possibly help readers to navigate through some of those choices locally associated with this wonderful libation, beginning with…

WHAT: What kind of wine ? What grape ? Consider this; you have a large amount of money and you decide to go into the winemaking business. Your first motivator would probably be, “What do I like?” Then you would likely try to select from the over 400 different wine grape varieties as to the following: “Would others like what I favor?” and “Where on Earth should I grow these grapes?” (We have only started this train of thought, and the track it’s following already has me worried.)

So let’s just assume we determine that we want to produce a sweet-to-slightly-sweet white wine; one that wouldn’t intimidate even the most novice of “winers,” yet one tasty enough to satisfy the most jaded palate.

Well then… what grape do we choose? Do I choose a white-skinned grape variety? The fact is that the juice of all varieties is an off-clear, greyish color. The skin, and it’s contact with the juice, is what gives the color to the wine. So we decide on using a white grape variety, since we don’t want to risk ending up with a pink, or blush color (White Zinfandel is a classic example). There’s Chardonnay, we like the flavor of this one. Or maybe Riesling, or Gewurztraminer, or Sauvignon Blanc, or… there’s way too many choices!

So let’s do a little research: the famous sweet white wines come from all over the globe. Let’s try France… a place called Sauternes, in a bigger place called Bordeaux… offering three different grape varieties. One is the Sauvignon Blanc, another is called Semillon, and the third is called Muscadelle, and they can be in any combination or percentage of any blends we choose from among all three varieties. Well, that gives us a lot of room to experiment.

Now all we have to do is find a place to grow these guys. There’s always France, but they have a couple of centuries head start on us so I think we’ll try closer to home. The Nebraska winters are too harsh for any of our choices (especially this seemingly endless one which still isn’t willing to totally accept Spring!) OK.... here we are in the Napa Valley, really pretty, lots of people with the same idea as us, think I’ll ask what an acre or two costs so that we can set up our grape-growing-winemaking we’re gonna-get-rich business!


As a personal aside, I hate the letter W…
It looks like an upside-down M, is the only three-syllable letter,
and looks like it should be pronounced double-V...

-end- metroMAGAZINE

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