Sunday, May 29, 2011

Apples -> Grapes

This original Apple packing box label was used on lug boxes of Blue Lakes Apples in the early 1900's. The apple 'pictured' is a Rome Beauty - my grandmother's favorite. You can see two of the many medals I.B. Perrine won for his fruit: Nebraska State Fair in Omaha, 1896 and the Paris, France International Exposition of 1900. On the left of the label there is a horse drawn stage coach descending down the north grade hairpin turn road that took I.B. seven years to build - it is still the main road into the Blue Lakes Canyon today. In a small frame on the right side of the label is a depiction of Shoshone Falls [the Niagra of the West] by the Oregon Short Line Railroad.
Apples would have been designated in the lower left blank space for "Variety" and the intended recipient's address in the space marked "To_____"
Many vineyardists I have known say that wherever you can grow good apples, you can grow good grapes. That is why so many acres in California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho have been converted from apple orchards to vineyards. Historically, apples of the heirloom varieties produced good crops only every other year. Bankers like to have annual income guarantees when they loan money to farmers. Many orchard farmers could not get loans for apple orchard necessities in the early 70's, but they could get loans for grapes - especially wine grape vineyards. The growth spurt of vineyards was based on a flowering of the trends indicating wine was a good investment for the predicted increase in future wine consumers. Two things about this strike me as sad and funny - a number of heritage apple varieties disappeared or became endangered species.  Bankers would most likely not get any return on investments in vineyards for at least 5 years. Bankers are born Gamblers!

1 comment:

Kelsey said...

This story was so interesting! I grew up vacationing in Eastern Washington and watched all the orchards transform into vineyards. It is great to know a little back story. I am also just starting out with my wine experiences, so I am excited to have someone as a bit of a guide :) As you say in your intro, you feel bad for those who never graduate from "soda pop wines" and I could have very well been one of those people!