Granizo

received_10155870302768345Meaning: hail

Cruising down the tree lined avenues in Mendoza’s wine region in a Citröen it feels more like the south of France circa 1950 than Argentina 2016. The trees along the winding roads reach out towards each other making a green tunnel that we chug along through, turning up the driveway into a beautiful vineyard. We drink champagne and ‘forget’ to pay for it and then do a tour of the winery. The tour guide tells us about the difficulties of the always-changing weather in Mendoza. Big hailstorms with chunks of ice the size of eggs sweep in from the Andes with barely any warning, destroying the precious grapes. Some wineries use nets to protect the grapes (somehow) but not this place. Though it looks like a classic old hacienda turned vineyard, its owners are firmly rooted in the future. Instead of nets they opt for the more expensive and science fictiony method of hiring a special plane to release chemicals (cartridges of silver iodide) directly into the storm to suppress the formation of the hailstones.  At first I thought that I misunderstood the guide but no, this really happens! Apparently it reduces damage by about thirty percent. Mendoza’s love and devotion to its delicious crop sure is sky high.

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