The Better Winemakers Actually Work in the Vineyards

June 9, 2009 No comments yet

To me, winemakers have dirt under their fingernails. On a recent Gourmet Trip to Burgundy, one of the participants noticed that while the winemaker had cleaned up for the dinner in his home, his hands and fingernails looked like the hands of a farmer. I explained that my winemakers are farmers. For the most part, they own their vines and work the fields themselves. They have a level of familiarity with the grapes that only a person who works in the fields can have.

One of my winemakers said it best when she said that “ the wine is made in the vineyards, not in the cellars. If you don’t start with quality fruit, it is not possible to make quality wines.”

Therefore, top winemakers are in the fields assuring that the harvest will be of the highest quality possible. Even though they may have workers to do some of the work for them, these winemakers can often be found in the vineyards examining the vines, working the soil, and testing the fruit. They are getting their hands dirty.

These are small families who have been entrusted with their ancestral homes and plots of land. They are stewards of the land for the next generation. Their job is to maximize the potential of the land in an environmentally friendly manner. And their special skill is turning the quality fruit into some of the world’s best wines.