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Gray Mold Hurts Hydroponic Urban Garden But Wine Lovers Love It!

Not hydroponics grapes Not hydroponics grapes

As a hydroponics grower who loves wine, I was shocked to find out that something a hydroponics grower fears the most in his urban garden is something a wine grapes grower or wine producer loves and desires.

Just what is this paradoxical topic of loathing or desire? None other than Botrytis Cinerea, or as it is known to us hydroponics gardeners- gray mold.

I sincerely hope you’ve never experienced gray mold in your hydroponics urban garden. It’s an ugly gray mass of yuck that eats your valuable hydroponics flowers right when they’re close to being harvest-ready.

You can’t spray it away. You have to cut the entire branch off your plant, and pray that the evil mold tendrils haven’t traveled to other flowers on that plant or throughout your urban garden.

Fact is, gray mold can decimate your hydroponics urban garden in 24-72 hours.

But guess what, this same vicious mold is called  “the Noble Rot" by the wine industry and it’s actually thought of as a “beneficial microbe.”

If these non-hydroponics grapes had gray mold, some winemakers would be joyful about it!If these non-hydroponics grapes had gray mold, some winemakers would be joyful about it!Are these wine people drinking too much wine, or what? Turns out they love gray mold because it causes grapes to shrink up so that the sugars, flavors and acids most sought from wine grapes are intensely concentrated.

This causes a cascade of desired effects, according to vintners. For one thing, the grapes gain a sweetness that tastes like honey but at the same time they are acidic, so the sweetness has a sharpness to it that makes the wine extremely full-bodied and memorable.

I kid you not, winemakers call them “botrytis wine grapes,” and the process by which gray mold is used to make fine wines is fascinating, time-consuming and profitable.

Indeed, the gray-molded grapes can’t be picked using easy methods that work with normal grapes. They have to be hand selected and time-harvested in a labor of love that can extend the winemaker’s workload and growing season significantly.

The payoff comes when you taste these wines, which are most often produced in the Bordeaux area of France, an area that hydroponics gardeners would dislike because it gets very humid during harvest season, which means gray mold rots your flowers.

As a hydroponics grower who loves wine!As a hydroponics grower who loves wine!But for a small percentage of Bordeaux specialty vineyards that appreciate gray-molded grapes, vintners make “Sauternes” wine…which is an almost sickeningly-sweet white wine that you could drink as a dessert.

According to wine insiders, a good Sauterne is Chateau Guiraud Sauterne. It’s described as a Sauterne that:  "Delivers lots of botrytis spice, with lemon tart and cooked apple. Full-bodied, with loads of cream and vanilla and an intense tropical fruit and honey aftertaste. Long and viscous, with a layered and beautiful spicy finish.”

Hey, I’ll drink to that!

Hydroponics dislikes gray mold , but some winemakers love the wine it can make.

And if I had my way, all botrytis fungi, spores, molds and related heebie-jeebies would head on over to the Bordeaux vineyards and leave our hydroponics urban gardens alone forever. In the meantime, tip a glass of Sauterne, and enjoy some sweet, intoxicating moldy grape nectar!

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Last modified on Friday, 05 November 2010 17:05

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