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Thursday, April 8, 2010


Diversification is a risk management technique practiced by corporations.   That, and moving jobs offshore then wondering why there's no one in the U.S. to buy their products.   But that topic is out of my scope here.

Besides have the usual veggie garden plus apple and plum trees I recently planted three Zinfandel vines.  Even though the mailing list for the 2013 bottling is growing I decided to expand into other areas.

Jeez, I hope nobody thinks I'm growing marijuana

Today my hop rhizomes (rootstocks) arrived from Hops Direct in Washington State.   Can't have all my eggs in the wine basket!   It also is a coincidence my next door neighbor is a home brewer.   We'll call it a symbiotic relationship.

Before Prohibition Sonoma County had thousands of acres of hops.  Hop production has moved mostly up to Washington. You still see hop drying kilns in the area.  I don't plan on building a kiln because it turns out you can dry them in a warm oven (that will make the house smell good)!

I know nothing about growing hops or what kind goes in what beer but from reading up I've selected these two:

  • Centennial - Similar to Cascade Hops that are really popular but with a bit more punch.  Good for making ales.  It's a dual purpose hop meaning it adds bitterness and aromas (some hops just do one or the other).
  • Chinook - A higher acid and more of a bittering hop used for ales, IPA's, stouts and lagers.
Luckily, I have raised garden beds next to the south side of the house.  The plan is to plant them in the nice garden soil and train them up the wall.

Just trying to be self-sustainable.