From DR. ROBERT GROSS
Cooper Mountain Vineyards
Cooking Up A Story
On the surface, the practice of medicine — both the traditional and non-traditional approaches — would seem to have little in common with the growing of wine grapes. For Dr. Robert Gross, there is a strong connection between his training as a Psychiatrist, and viticulture. This episode draws upon the rich interplay between two completely separate fields, each helping to enhance better understanding with the other.
It’s hard to tell how agriculture is influenced by medicine, and how medicine is influenced by agriculture because it kind of flows back and forth
My main job is being a psychiatrist, a medical doctor in which I practice mostly psychotherapy with some medication, and I mix that with alternative medicine which includes acupuncture and homeopathy.
And then I run Cooper Mountain Vineyards. Grapes are a lot like human beings in that when they’re real young they don’t show the same maturity that an older vine, or older person, might show. And so the grapes become much more elegant, sophisticated, and balanced — as human beings usually do too — as they get older. Then, of course, at some point in life, or in the age of the vine, they start fading.
My growth as a Doctor, and as a Farmer and Winemaker, have fed each other. As an example, I know in this plot here, in the early 1980s, we were using some chemicals that were available and were used to keep the birds off these grapes. We would apply the chemical fairly close to the harvest. The birds would eat it and eventually vomit because it affected their nervous systems. We were all told that these chemicals disappear. There were 10 days [after application] that we didn’t pick.
And then Canada decided they were going to measure the amount [of that chemical] that was left in the wine… something that most of us hadn’t thought about because we had been told it was all gone. Canada eventually banned the substance because it was a neurotoxin… a neurotoxin not just for birds, but a neurotoxin for human beings too.
That knowledge came from agriculture… learning about birds and what it does, and realizing that