Less Isn’t Always More

So, you’ve heard the idea: the lower the yield of grapes, the higher the quality of the wine. The rationale goes like this–the fewer grapes you grow on any one acre of land, the more concentrated those grapes will be and therefore the more flavorful the wine will be. It sounds reasonable. Except it isn’t exactly true. Alas, there is no absolute linear correlation between yield and quality. In the Napa Valley, for example, fantastic cabernet sauvignons are made from vineyards that yield two tons per acre—and from vineyards that yield double that. We do know that each vine has a “balance point”—a finely-tuned level of crop at which the grapes grow optimally. But where that balance point is isn’t as simple as tons per acre.

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