the people behind the wine
Winemakers, they are the first people we think of when we think of a wine. They create wines from a multitude of methods and philosophies. Some winemakers start in the field, with the growing of the grapes, carefully watching the way the grapes are watered or fertilized. Some winemakers, are more concerned with the science in the cellar, with the tending to the juice and how it ferments or ages. Some are a little out there, trying new techniques or diving back into old ones. Many are a mix of these things, and they all make unique wines.
We speak about winemakers and they are important, but they often, are not alone in creating their wines. There are vineyards to be tended, grapes to be harvested, crushed and turned in that delicious and mesmerizing libation that causes us to wax poetic. There also the people who run the tasting rooms and get this product into the hands of people everywhere to enjoy. All of these are the people behind the wine and each of their stories in some way impacts this great beverage making it unique.
On some occasions, in a small winery, these might all be rolled up into one person, one very hardworking tired person who potentially is running another job while they make ends meet to keep this passion alive. In other cases this might be generations of a family handing down a legacy of land and tradition. In other cases this might be a myriad of people working together, brought together by their love of wine.
So here, you will hear their stories, the tales behind the vines. I see it as another form of terroir adding to our interpretation of the of the wine.
When you find the SIP Certified seal, you can be assured that growers and winemakers are preserving and protecting the natural environment, treating their employees and community with care, and have sound business practices with a long-term view that protects both the present and the future. Conscientious consumers have a choice they can make – one that supports both the land and the people that create their favorite sustainable wines.
Organic grape growing avoids the use of synthetic chemicals and uses natural methods like crop rotation, tillage and natural composts to maintain soil health as well as natural methods to control weeds, insects and other pests.
Biodynamics is the highest level of organic farming. Developed in the 1920’s, Biodynamics views the vineyard as a single organism. With this approach, eliminating synthetic chemicals is just the beginning. Biodynamics goes further, encouraging biodiversity, a closed nutrient system, the use of homeopathic teas and a close personal connection to the land.
This belief is based on listening to the land, choosing the right clone for the soil, then choosing to irrigate or dry farm where needed. The majority of the work can happen in the field. You harvest high quaility grapes, and make high quality wine, with little intervention from the winemaker.
Using science to make your wine, via brix and pH levels in the field and using specific yeast, you can create a wine during crush and fermentation with controls, to make the perfect wine.
Taking the path less traveled, these winemakers experiment with different yeasts and fermentation methods. Some may dive into extended masceration periods or create unique blends, using the science as a guideline and then blazing their own paths. These techniques have created some interesting wines.