The following is a preview of one of my posts this week for the new Slow Wine Guide to the Wines of California. Our site came online this morning. The Slow Wine prizes will be announced shortly. Producer profiles will follow.
Above: The western edge of the Santa Ynez American Viticultural Area. The Pacific coast lies just a stone’s throw away.
The time is right for the Slow Wine California.
Perceptions of gastronomy’s cultural value have changed radically since the Slow Food international movement was founded in the late 1980s in Piedmont, Italy as a champion of traditional foodways threatened by Italy’s growing appetite for fast-food. As a wide-eyed undergraduate student in Italy on my junior year abroad in 1987, I was keenly aware of the controversy sparked by the newly opened McDonald’s at the foot of Rome’s Spanish Steps. It was that year that I first heard the name Carlo Petrini, the essayist and political activist who had founded Slow Food the previous year. In 1989 he would publish the Slow Food Manifesto, a battle cry for an emerging generation of Europeans who saw their culinary traditions being eclipsed by the march of industrialism and the growing popularity of Coca Cola and assembly-line pseudo-sustenance.
“Speed became our shackles,” he wrote. “We fell prey to the same virus: ‘The fast life’ that fractures our customs and assails us even in our own homes, forcing us to ingest ‘fast-food’… In the name of productivity, the ‘fast life’ has changed our lifestyle and now threatens our environment and our land (and city) scapes [sic]. Slow Food is the alternative, the avant-garde’s riposte.
Borrowing from the fencer’s lexicon (with his “riposte,” the sport’s return thrust, made after parrying a lunge), he underlined the urgency of his cause and mission.