I got an email late last week from the founding mother of Long Island wine, Louisa Hargrave. That’s not particularly noteworthy as we correspond regularly and obviously share a common affection for our local wine region. But, this email was an interesting one.
Turns out that she had just returned from a trip to Kenya where she had been helping Richard Leakey and his daughter Louise de Merode make wine in Kenya of all places.
Apparently they are focusing on pinot noir but have also made some chardonnay with Louisa’s help.
And, Louise has a great blog, Zabibu (which means raisin or grape) where she shares their adventures growing grapes and making wine so close to the equator.
The first thing that jumped out at me is how they battle mildew in the vineyard–by diluting local milk with water. Louisa told me that it works because it’s raw milk and has microflorae that battle the mold and mildew.
The most fascinating thing that Louisa told me is that so close to the equator they need manually defoliate to simulate winter. How cool–and labor intensive–is that? Wine lovers are a passionate group.