Pat Shingleton: "A Bridge, Your Wine and Bourbon..."
Imagine 30 to 35 mph winds swaying, buckling and toppling the Sunshine Bridge... On November 8, 1940, residents of Tacoma, WA were stunned as to what occurred the day before. On November 7, 30 to 35 mph winds caused the Narrows Bridge in Tacoma, WA, to vibrate excessively. Moments later, it collapsed into the water. The collapsed span was called "Galloping Gertie," entering the engineering Hall of Shame. It was the start of the meteorological field of wind engineering. Now, meteorologists specializing in atmospheric winds collaborate with structural and civil engineers in the construction of high-rise buildings, sports stadiums, bridges and other large structures. "Wind-proofing" of coastal residences continues to save billions of dollars when storms hit. From bridges to grapes... Sugar, acid and more than 200 flavor components give each grape a variety of characters. It's what makes your Riesling crisp and your Cabernet Sauvignon rich. Weatherwise Magazine reported grapes ripen through the summer months, sugars accumulate and acids diminish. In the final weeks before the harvest the flavor compounds erupt and through the delicately balanced, weather-dependent process, the magic occurs. Too much heat and the sugars quickly develop before the flavors arrive. This results in a wine that is alcohol heavy and low in acidity. If the temperatures aren't high enough the grape won't completely ripen and the flavors are stunted and your Merlot won't have a mellow glow. Grower's love a long, slow, warm and dry season finale. Finally, from grapes to bourbon. Thomas Jefferson, Governor of Virginia, set aside sixty acres of land in Bourbon County Kentucky for farming. He instructed pioneers to build a permanent structure to raise, store and export “native corn.” The crop turned out to be too perishable and was bulky for transporting. When families consumed only limited amounts of the grain, ingenious farmers utilized Kentucky’s perfect combination of water, climate, and white oak forests to create another product- Kentucky Bourbon. World News Tonight reported recently that a manufacturing boom in Kentucky is breaking records and creating jobs. Production of bourbon has increased 18% with more barrels of bourbon in Kentucky than people and the secret to the increase is overseas sales. Local bourbon taster, Billy Edrington, informed me that iron-free water makes the best bourbon.