Slike strani
PDF
ePub

a

the solution of the several problems, upon selves in the course of time by the surviva the successful solution of which the future in of the fittest. In the process of evolution on store for the grape industries of California so this basis, doubtless, a good many will suffer: essentially depends. The grape-growers, at not because “the business is overdone” in least, now fully understand that quality, and general, but because their particular product not quantity alone, will in the near future be is a drug in the market, being, from whatevthe determining factor as between profit and er cause, below the mark of excellence reloss: and the somewhat heated discussions quired to secure profitable returns. They at a late convention show that they are not may, upon a different plane, experience a dedisposed to submit to an arbitrary classifica- pression like that of 1875. The fact that tion of their products, in bulk, by the wine immense quantities of very indifferent wine merchants, but will insist that special excel- are consumed in France and Germany will lence, whether of locality or treatment, shall not avail here, where the laboring masses command corresponding prices, as in the rarely touch wine, good or bad, thus far prewine countries of Europe. One of the chief ferring beer or strong liquors. It is hardly difficulties now existing lies in the lack of probable that, for some time to come, it a sufficient number of competent wine ex- would pay well to ship "vin ordinaire” all perts, whose judgment shall be unbiased by the way to Europe; and although the use of local habits contracted in the Old World, native wines is likely to increase materially and open to the modifications called for by in this country, displacing in a measure the new conditions of climate and soil; and as less healthful beverages now consumed, yet well to the recognition of excellence not pre- this is too slow a process to be relied upon cisely in accord with any type of old-world by those now planting vines. wines, such as it is extremely probable will We have a very analogous condition of be found among the products of California things in the case of the orchard fruits, which vineyards.

until lately have been planted in a somewhat Among the most important and at the same indiscriminate manner. Orchards made up time most difficult questions still to be set- of a few choice varieties adapted to the lotled for Californian viticulture, is the special cality prove very profitable, and will doubtadaptation of grape-varieties to local climates less continue to do so, being in demand for and soils, and to desirable blends; and be- canning and drying; while indifferent and fore these points are settled, many heavy mixed fruit becomes more and more every losses and disappointments will be sustained. year a drug in the market.

But in this case At this time some communities are so sensi- the California grower has to compete with tive on this subject, that it is unsafe to sug- the products of the East, where there are gest a doubt of the adaptation of the local regions whose orchard fruits, both fresh and climate to certain preferred and productive dry, fairly compete in quality with ours. Not grape-varieties in which heavy investments so in the case of the grape: for California have been made; and yet, the longer such seems to have, and is likely to retain, from delusions are indulged in, the heavier will climatic causes, the monopoly of the produc,

, ultimately be the losses from the slow and tion of the European "viniferagrape on low sale of unsatisfactory products. No one the North American continent, and with it locality or region can be good for all classes that of the production of wines like those of of wines; and those who insist on trying to the old world, as well as of raisins.

Thus force the Riesling and the Muscat into yield- far, at least, few wines made from the grapes ing their choicest products on the same acre of the American stock are entirely free from of land, will simply find themselves distanced the inherent “foxiness” which, while acceptby prudent competitors who adapt their ef- able by way of a change, seems to militate forts to natural conditions.

against the daily use of wine, from the same All these things will inevitably right them- cause that makes cake unacceptable in place

a

of bread; and the toughness of skin and will, however, be needed to maintain profits. acidity of the innermost pulp tell at least First and second-class raisins will not be a equally against the making of raisins from drug in the market for many years to come; the American berries. On the other hand, nor will there be much difficulty in convertsince the American varieties also succeed ing a raisin vineyard into a wine-making one, perfectly in California, our wine-makers have or vice versa, by grafting, should need arise. the opportunity of producing blends such as There are two other clouds, apparently have never been attempted as yet (unless more serious at present than that of overquite lately, and upon a small scale, in production, that threaten the success of vitiFrance), and which promise remarkable re- culture in this State. One is the presence sults.

of the phylloxera; the other, the scarcity of Considering that when all the vineyards available labor, resulting from the "Excluat present planted shall be in bearing, the 'sion Act.” entire product of California will probably As regards the phylloxera, it seems to be still amount to only about one-thirtieth of gradually but surely spreading over the State, the total product of France, and will only in the absence of any effective system of about equal that of Russia and Turkey, quarantine other than such as the grapet' which is scarcely heard of in the world's growers of certain districts agree upon, or commerce; that, as a consequence of the such as individuals practice for their own invasion of the phylloxera, the wine product protection. Two chief causes contribute to of France remains stationary in the face of this remarkable indifference toward a danger an increasing demand and higher prices, that has shown such formidable results in Eucompelling an extensive importation from rope. One is the indisputable fact that its other countries to maintain an adequate sup- attacks are not as fatal to the vine in Califorply; that the invasion of Spain and Portu- nia as elsewhere, despite the apparently fagal has but just begun, and seems to progress vorable conditions offered by the climate. almost unchecked, despite all efforts to arrest Another is the inveterate habit of Califorit, having already caused a material falling nians to take risks and abide by the results. off of the wine exports of those countries, A third may be found in the great rapidity whose somewhat unprogressive population will with which young vineyards come into bearbe slow to adopt the only feasible remedy of ing, allowing losses to be made good in a grafting on resistent stocks; that the inroads much shorter time than would be required of the insect are but just beginning to be felt in Europe. However, a goodly proportion in the wine-growing districts of Russia and of the new plantings are now being made of Greece; and finally, that for many years the resistent stocks, especially in districts alprice of wines, especially of the higher grades, ready infested; while others are made with a has been steadily on the increase: it seems view to permanent protection by periodic that the prospect of losses in consequence of inundation. Altogether, the grape-grower over-production of good wines in California have evidently made up their minds to ge is too remote to deserve serious considera along with or without the phylloxera, as ma tion at this time. Practically the same is

be necessary. true, even in a higher degree, of the raisin

The other threatening difficulty is that industry. Not only is it likely that the Eu- a scarcity of labor, and for the immedia ropean production of this article will be ma

future it is certainly a serious one. The e terially decreased for some time to come, clusion act is rapidly rendering Chinese ! but the probable increase of consumption of bor unavailable, and no other as yet appea an article so universally liked, but thus far to take its place. The difficulty is especi too high-priced to be available to the labor- ly serious in the case of the great vineya ing classes, should also be kept in view. In enterprises covering thousands of acr this case, as in that of wines, high quality which have been entered upop within 1

[ocr errors]

last three or four years. These are in near- growing and wine-making, and one so entirely the same predicament as were the cotton- ly dependent upon the quality of the product planters of the South after the war, when for its pecuniary success? Where are the they found themselves unable to command experts to supervise minutely, as must be the negro labor that had previously run their done, the details of the vintage from several thousand-acre plantations so smoothly. They thousands of acres, every part of which must tried to solve the problem by inviting immi- be watched lest a little leaven should damgration; bulthe immigrants, when they came, age the whole of so delicate a merchandise would not serve on the same terms as the as wine? By dint of its very vastness, the negroes, but wanted their own homes. In undertaking falls into the same risks as in the course of experience, the planters' ques- the case of the attempted making of wine by tion, “How shall we run our large planta- each small grower, of whom not one in ten tions?" has been answered by the practical possessed the necessary knowledge of the response: “You must not 'run' them at all,

processes. There is a measure below as but subdivide them, and settle families on well as above which an industry like this inmoderately-sized homesteads.” Measurably volves great risks of financial failure. the same answer will, I think, have to be For small growers, whose families can given to our thousand-acre grape-growers; contribute largely to the labors of the vintand when they submit to the obvious neces- age, the labor famine will have no terrors; sity, their enterprises will perhaps bring them and, generally speaking, the grape industry less

money for the time being than if their will suffer less than that of orchard fruits, vineyards had been "run" by gangs of Chi- whose bulky products require much more namen, but they will certainly redound more handling before getting into a marketable to the benefit of the community at large. and preservable shape. With the former, the Wholesale planting, whether of cotton, su- pressure ceases with the picking. Must gar-cane, wheat, or vines, is certainly the once in the casks or vats is not very exactleast desirable form of agriculture, and com- ing in the amount of labor required, howevpatible only with servile labor or its equiva- er much it stands in need of the closest and lent. Like bonanza mines, it enriches the most intelligent attention; and wine once few

, but leaves the laborers in poverty and made almost takes care of itself, and can dependence, and impoverishes the soil; while wait for a market as long as the owner's diversified farming on small holdings creates financial condition will permit. Yet the general and permanent prosperity among an grower of grapes exclusively will find himintelligent and independent population. It self under the difficulty of being unable to must be gravely doubted that any system of give employment throughout the year to tenantry or colonization can be more than those whose help he needs during the vinttemporarily successful in connection with age; a disadvantage inseparable from all these large enterprises. They are likely, undiversified farming, except perhaps in the moreover, to suffer from another cause. It cases of cotton and sugar cane. has been often said that the profits per acre

For this reason alone, even the small in the wholesale planting of wheat are very

vineyardist should to a certain extent diversmall as compared with those obtained under sify his products: apart from the general similar natural conditionson smaller holdings, maxim that it is unsafe to rely and stake on account of the expensive plant, and the all upon the outcome of a single crop, howwaste from numerous leaks that cannot be ever rarely that crop may fail in our amiable stopped when operations are conducted on climate. In the case of wine-making it is so large a scale. If this is true of so simple doubly desirable that the producer should be an industry as wheat-planting, how will it be financially able to hold his product until it in the case of one involving so much judg- shall have distinctly shown its best quality; ment and technical knowledge as grape- and unless he be a capitalist, he can do this

only by having something else to fall back Although contrary to the cherished convicupon for immediate pecuniary needs. tions of not a few of her enthusiastic sons, it

While, then, we may not share the appre- is hardly reasonable to suppose that the hensions of those who fear that grape-plant- same laws that govern wine production and ing will necessarily be overdone in the im- the taste of wine consumers elsewhere will mediate future, if the present rate of increase not hold good here, and will not vindicate be maintained for some years to come, it themselves whenever a normal state of equimay reasonably be expected that the high librium is reached, as with the increased faprofits realized within the last few years will cilities of communication must soon be the not much longer be generally maintained, case. unless the increase in the quantity of the As a result of this increased communicaproduct should be accompanied by such par- tion, also, the labor question will adjust itallel improvement in the quality as shall ma- self through the influx of immigration; and terially and rapidly enlarge both the home it is pleasant for those whose home interests and foreign market for California wines. are permanently established in this sunny Those growing a high-grade product have no clime to consider that a commonwealth of reason to fear unremunerative prices; but it fruit-growers and vintners is, almost of nemay be that the valley lands, yielding from cessity, one of more than average intelligence, ten to seventeen tons per acre, will, for wine- not only because of the special need of the making purposes, before long fall behind use of brains and knowledge involved, but those of less exuberant yield in the net re- also because the pursuit is so attractive as

When labor is scarce and high, high to bring within its ranks, especially in later quality and value of necessity gain prece-life, a good many educated men from "the dence over large quantity and inferior grade, professions." Nowhere, probably, is the dewhich in the Old World, at least, is held to sire for a country home so universal as in be inseparable from such high production. California, for nowhere does Nature render In France, the average product per acre is it so easy to combine it with a rational enabout one and two-thirds tons, and much joyment of life. It may not be irrelevant to less in the vineyards yielding the celebrated add, that nowhere will a good professional wines; while more than twice that amount training of those devoting themselves to is the least average assignable to California. agricultural pursuits be more richly repaid.

E. W. Hilgard.

turns.

A SHEPHERD AT COURT,

CHAPTER VI.

did not care a crooked sixpence for that, or

the Russell's new house, or their holiday The storm got such good foothold that it merry-making. He was tired of the showy swept the streets of the city for a week, as if hospitality which “holds out its hand, the Christmas-tide were a personal enemy but keeps its fingers closed over the coin.” that it were necessary to blot out; but the And he now frankly confessed to himtorrent only succeeded in dampening the ar- self that his critical contemplation of dor of the pleasure seekers ever so little, and social life for its sake had long in furnishing conversation for the vacuous- ago come to an end ; society being fominded.

cussed, so to speak, into one person, In spite of his excuses to Mrs. Rivers, presence or absence made or marred the so Gurney took advantage of her open invita- cial occasion, whatever it might be. But he tion to change his mind with his mood, and ate the elaborate dinner which Mrs. River: present himse t at the "early dinner.” He seemed to think necessary for the strictly

own

whose

[ocr errors]

family party,” and of which the traditional mechanism of such a man might be, and turkey and plum-pudding formed such an in- whether he would step out of life in the same finitesimal part; he listened with praise- irreproachable manner that he had walked worthy patience to Fessenden's languid ex- through it. Miss Oulton solved these doubts position of his visit to a Yorkshire country when appealed to. house ; he followed Mr. Rivers's household “ There was once,” she said airily, “a biographies of Laura's wit and Tom's manli- youth loved of Aurora, and with the ques. ness, with their physical failings and cult tionable generosity of her sex, she procured thrown in; he lent himself to the propping him the gift of immortality without having up of Mrs. Rivers's harmless vanities; and youth thrown in. It was said that the fickle all, forsooth, because these were the branch- dawn-goddess got tired of her withered imes whereon hung the rose. It's as old as the mortal, and had him changed to a grasshopcreation, this selfish and sudden interest in per. But I'm fairly convinced that a species whatever touches the object of one's affec- of evolution and the needs of society have tion: I doubt not that if Eve had had any produced from the original Tithonus--Mr. relations, Adam would have sneakingly sub- Ballard, He has the spirit of youth, and as mitted to their egotistic exactions, and fat- nobody knows how old he is, we may fancy tered them.

he is immortal. Maybe in the next generaAs we have seen, Gurney held a high ideal tion we will find the gift of the gods perfectof womanhood, but he had hitherto rather ed.” plumed himself on his indifference to femi- “That's very ingenious," said Gurney, with nine fascinations ; now he was being bound a slight laugh, “but not satisfactory. Life tamely enough by the silken threads that one would have to be perfected too, for immorday or another enwrap the stoutest Gulliver tality to be anything but a bitter gift.” of us all. He believed in wild roses, but “Not life as Mr. Ballard sees it,” said Helthere was a thorny Jacqueminot that scorned en, rather more earnestly than she often hedgerows, and he straightway forgot every spoke. "If his elaborate compliments and other flower in the botanist's catalogue, and witticisms are a little too-inevitable, they are recklessly resolved to gather it, thorns and always amiable; and better still, his charity all .

is sincere. When I venture a cynical remark, The only other guest at the Christmas he looks as if I had stabbed him. He is dinner was Mr. Ballard, who, in spite of successful because he believes," she added, Jack's irreverent description, seemed a very with a melancholy little smile. proper guest for any time. Noting how “ Then faith is the whole duty of man, no defily he tided over all domestic quicksands, matter how much misplaced,” retorted Gurwith what graceful turns he held out the ney. “ Well, I want to choose my own idols, sunniest side of the cloudiest social charac- at any rate.” ters, how he contrived without intrusiveness Mr. Rivers came just then to hurry them to make even their host's bourgeois arrogance

off to the Russells'. He was boring himself agreeable, Gurney could not but acknowl- to please the children, and very naturally edge that Mr. Ballard had a mission, and wanted to end his martyrdom as soon as posthat he performed it nobly. It was impossisible. His nephews deserted them directly ble not to envy the versatility that could after dinner; Fred coldly ignoring such a skip from the details of a lady's party dress very American thing: while Charlie, who to European politics; and there really did was a light-hearted youth, constantly under not seem to be anything of which Mr. Bal- treatment for his frivolity, objected to his lard was absolutely ignorant ; in fact, he lent uncle's society when it could be avoided, a sort of dignity to the most airy topics by and wisely enough preferred his cigarettes the earnestness he brought to bear on them. and a new play to moral pills coated with Gurney wondered idly what the inner Christmas sugar.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
« PrejšnjaNaprej »