So there’s this whole cloned meat debate thing going on right now, or starting to happen.
And since I’ve been hanging out with wine geeks (and am becoming one myself), an interesting conversation relating to this has come up a few times.
The culture of wine has to do with being able to smell, taste, see where something has come from. Because it’s still just grapes. But you get all these different things out of it, which point you to what sort of life the grape vine had that year and the years before, that are complex enough that someone who’s good at it can name the varietal, vintage, and vineyard that a wine came from.
And while there’s not this sort of established culture around being able to tell what breed and area your steak is of, a recent article in Gourmet Magazine tied it in with wine in my mind.
See, there’s this thing called AOC. And part of why it was initially put into place was to keep emerging vineyards from taking business from established ones. (This is on my fairly limited research into a very complicated subject) Certain guidelines had to be met to obtain different levels of certification, giving legitimacy. Now these guidelines were initially pretty meaningless (as they were just meant to limit who could be labled as Fancy-Pants for getting all their grapes from one area of a specific region and going through the rest of the process in the same spot instead of pulling from grapes all over the place, mixing barrels, etc), but as wine making became more regulated and localized, the differences between regions became more noticeable, as well as more predictable. They’ve done the same thing with cheese, and now flour (the flour bit was what the article was on). Similar things are being suggested for beef if it’s to be of the non-cloned variety.
The guidelines don’t just mandate what type of grapes you use in what percentage in order to label your wine as a certain varietal, but also where they come from, how they are taken care of, harvested, etc. Cheese cultures can only come from the region that the cows/goats/sheep you’re milking for the cheese, etc. The flour has to be from grains in your region, ground in your region, etc. And the producers in these regions that adhere to the standards are government-subsidized.
The government is making it possible, even encouraging, these places to maintain a way of life which is basically a snapshot of when they were certified. We are building our Reservations (an idea described in Transmet).