There is a huge difference between Indigenous versus autochthonous, I’ve just learned.

On Facebook I wrote. “Every now and then you meet someone w-a-y smarter than you. “And HE said that there are NO indigenous grape varieties in Italy.”

This was in reference to an experience I had just had in San Francisco, when I asked an importer if he had “a variety that was indigenous to Italy.”

I have to thank Thomas Riley, whom I met on Facebook:

THOMAS R. RILEY profile:

Works at Freelance Wine Writer and Educator and The Grape Belt
Past: Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Du Vin Fine Wines
Studied at Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET)
Past: UConn and Fordham University
Lives in Alameda, California
From Dunkirk, New York

Thomas commented:

Thank you for writing indigenous and not autotochthonous.

I responded:

Good one…. Geology: (of a deposit or formation) formed in its present position.

(I did not know that word, #WhatILearnedToday)

Another blog story…


It also just means indigenous or native. Too many writers use five dollar words when a one dollar word does just fine.

You know how your mind works, someone says something and something else immediate pops up. I thought… The movie Somm, and then my mind bounced to what I had just seen on Facebook from grape goddess and sommelier at Planet Grape Catherine Fallis:

New wine film ‘Somm: Into the Bottle’ is ambitious, dangerously selective

I then reflected on how I viewed SOMM’s first film, and took a bit of comfort that I’m not the only one with an eye toward their selectiveness:

I then came back to Thomas, and responded:

LOL… But, think of the possibilities of true autochthonous grapes, Thomas! They would only be the ones coming from Armenia, from 6,100 years ago… They were the ones brought from the Middle East… and what were they? What were the very first grape varieties, which were then brought to other terroir and adapted, cross pollinated, etc., but those gone wild!

Just think about that, people… (!)

It’s like being the one to find that first dated human skeleton, for people who love history, anthropology, geology, viticulture, enology, etc. I wish I had time to dig deeply into this. It’s too late for me switch gears. (I’ve already had seven separate careers.) If you’re a true sommelier out there, go for it. This will demonstrate that you’ve really got what it takes in the world of advanced curiosity…  and  a darn fine sommelier that would be.