Sunday, May 07, 2006

California dream is reality for wine firm

The Sunday Times, Business

Is Joe Gallo a hero or a villain? It depends who you ask, says Dominic Rushe in Sonoma County, California

RED-TAILED hawks patrol the skies above the Gallo family’s Frei Ranch in northern California. From the oak trees around the vineyards Spanish moss hangs in silvery threadlike masses, a sign of air purity. It’s hot and April’s frosts are over. The vines that cover the hills are now growing at up to an inch a day. By September they will be ready to harvest.
Similar scenes can still be found across the Atlantic where vines have been cultivated since Noah ran the Ark aground. But at the centre of this ranch, hidden behind a slow-growing wall of redwood trees, is a stainless-steel plant that reminds visitors how far viticulture has travelled in those intervening years.


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