Healdsburg , CA, aug 4 th 2015
Our bikes have been taking us in the last 3 days across the beautiful Napa Valley and its family vineyards, two of which we visited thoroughly: the Rutherford vineyard and the Korbel champain vineyard. Thanks to the Snyders we were gracefully invited for lunch in the Rutherford’s gardens and could taste their elegant Cabernet while learning a bit on the complex business of producing and selling wine. Korbell was different as it is California champain, but also a typical American success story starting with a poor imigrant in 1880 and now a Dallas family feud enriching the attorneys. I guess that Lafayette would have looked down upon the Calfornia champain and Talleyrand would have spit it disdainfully, but nevertheless the whole Napa valley is a stunning example of the entrepreneurship of American immigrants who since the 1970 were able to produce wines that compare easily with some of the best French ones.
Success stories have also downsides: the Napa valley was the craddle of a luxurious redwood forest, with some of the tallest trees in the world, some of them many centuries old. The dollar-thirsty lumberjacks of the 19 th century logged down 95 % of this forest, and only thanks to the great Theodore Roosevelt and a few nature lovers like James B . Armstrong could the remaining 5% be preserved, to our pleasure and jaw dropped admiration in front of some 1000 years old, 100 meters high giants.