The Magickal Art and Science of Viticulture

“A grapevine has been planted outside of the father, but being unsound, it will be pulled up by it’s roots and destroyed.” - Jesus, The Gospel of Thomas

by, Eugene Canseliet and Julien Champagne

Wine is one of the oldest beverages known to man. This sweet nectar has been cultivated and enjoyed by our ancestors at least since 6000 B.C., to which the oldest vineyards, located in Caucasus, have been dated. From there the science spread to Mesopotamia, Egypt, and then Greece. Where it was worshipped under the persona of Dionysius, and played a large part in all religious ceremonies. These ceremonies eventually mutated into the Communion that we know today, in which wine represents the blood of the Deity. Wine began as a thick, viscous substance that tasted of turpentine, but over the years the science of viticulture has been significantly refined, and the process of breeding the most suitable “blue apples”, as grapes are sometimes referred to as has been nearly perfected through the labours and research of well-trained eugenicists. Here then is a summarized account of the process of viticulture.

The grapes used in wine-making, both red and white, are grown best in temperate zones, such as those found in the United States and much of Europe. (The French in particular have been cultivating vines to perfecting for a number of years.) Even dormant vines cannot survive in the cold of subarctic regions, which is why our Viking brothers never acquired this science, and the heat of the tropic regions interferes with the growth cycle, which is why the vines grown in South America are usually inferior. In fact, the locales best suited for this work are well-known and established. Several variables determine the quality and purity of the wine produced, the most important of which is the judiciousness with which the vines are pruned between growing seasons. Pruning is a necessary element of the proper breeding of any species, and grape vines are no exception. Simply put, this produces a limited but superior yield of offspring, as fewer grapes must compete with each other for nourishment. Also note that b using only “creme of the crop” specimens for breeding, a better quality is assured in the offspring, a simple law of genetics. (However, it is suggested that deference be given to the first born.) Other factors include the quality of the soil; the absorption capacity of the soil (the more water it can hold, the better); the relative amounts of sunshine and rainfall to which the vines are subjected during the growing season; the vivification process itself, and the process of storing the immature wine for proper aging.

Vivification is usually achieved by allowing the juice of perfectly ripe grapes to ferment. However, certain sweet wines such as the Sauternes of France are made by deliberately harvesting the grapes after the onset of a white mold called Botryis cinera has created a condition called “pourriture noble”, or noble rot, and an especially high sugar content. Fermentation was once done solely in wooden vats, but nowadays glass-lined or stainless steel tanks are often used because they are more sanitary and allow for a more precise control of the resultant. In most vivification processes, the harvested grapes are separated from their stalks at the vineyards and pressed ever so slightly to release their juice, which is then put into the fermentation tanks, where it stays for a period of days or weeks. Once upon a time fermentation was enacted by yeast cells present in the grape skins, but these days special strains of cultured yeast are often substituted for the natural agent. The juice converts to a solution of alcohol and water, releasing carbon dioxide in the process. In the case of red wine, tannin and color from the grape skins are absorbed by the fermenting juice. Fermenting continues until all sugar in the juice has been converted to alcohol. Tannin is found in a noticeable amount only in red wine,which is the main reason for the taste difference between the red and the white. Unless the vatting time has been unusually short, the tannin presence in the very young red wines is excessively high. But as the wines age, the tannin is neutralized and combines with some of the coloring to form a benign sediment which can be discarded when decanting the wine. The more tannin present in the wine, the drier it will be. When after poor growing seasons grapes are not sufficiently ripe, sugar is added to the juice during fermentation. Unless this is done, the grapes will not produce an alcohol content high enough to stabilize the wine. After bottling all wines are also “fined” by filtering them to remove impurities. A further treatment is often done to remove vestigial impurities by either a brief exposure to heat (called “flash pasteurization”) and an extremely fine filtration system used for the more elite strains. Some wines also experience “malolactic fermentation taking place within the bottle, in which malic acid is converted to lactic acid and carbon dioxide, thus decreasing the acidity level while creating a certain effervescence.

A few words should be said here about the secret science of “vine grafting” written abut by Nautonnier Chyren and Ann Léa Hisler, which supposedly yields a result so magnificent as to be fit for the palettes of kings. Legend has it that this produces a elixir made of both the red and the white juices that possesses properties similar to those of the alchemical “Philosopher’s Stone.” This is indeed an arcane craft, quite dangerous when not performed properly, and should only be performed by those who already possess the seed of the golden bough. These seeds have been exclusively under the protection of certain European royal families since time immemorial. Any attempt made by those who do not possess the seed will have disastrous effects, vines horribly malformed and unfit to live.

Now you have been warned. Drink of my blood and be transformed.

Boy stomping grapes.

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