Valley growers benefit from wine's popularity among hip hop artists

FRESNO, Calif.

Valley vineyards produce everything from cabernet sauvignon to french columbard winegrapes. But the wine industry is adapting to changing times and changing tastes.

In his single "Do it now," /*Drake*/ rapped, "It's a celebration clap clap bravo, lobster and shrimp and a glass of moscato."

Drake is among several artists who have rapped about moscato, a sweet wine made from the muscat grape.

Easton grower /*Ray Jacobsen*/ didn't have any idea which rappers drink moscato. "Nah I'm afraid I don't. I'm not much of a hip hopper."

But Ray has contracted with a winery to grow 40 acres of muscat grapes to meet a suddenly startling demand. Jacobsen explained, "My kids probably could have told you that it's popular and who's doing it but pop sits out here with his head in the sand. I'm not very hip."

Hip hop artists have turned their fans into wine drinkers, a new generation of /*moscato*/ fans.

Nat DiBuduo heads the marketing cooperative Allied Grape Growers. He said moscato's rise in popularity caught the wineries by surprise. DiBuduo said muscat grape acreage in the Valley has doubled in two years. "It's just like white zin was a few years ago is what we think the moscato craze is right now and based on the demand from wineries we don't expect to go away soon."

Local growers might not listen to hip hop but they do appreciate the artists' taste in wine.

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