I was thinking this morning about my winemaking adventure in Baja California, Mexico, which I blogged about on Wednesday, and I was wondering how many of you out there have tried your hand at making your own wine, or have had a similar vinous dreams?
I really recommend it. It gives you a whole different appreciation for what actually goes in the bottle. The various steps and variables from the minute the buds break on the vine in the early spring to crushing the grapes in the early fall and bottling afterwards are enormous. And how well a winemaker juggles all these elements is what makes the difference between vinegar and good wine. But I am sure you already know this.
I think it’s interesting that in most Latin-based languages – if I am not mistaken – the world "winemaker" doesn’t exist. It’s something that we use in English, but French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish-speaking wine producers do not have the word. They use "enologist" to mean a technician who makes and analyzes wines, but "winemaker" is something different. "Winemaker", at least how I use it, encompasses all aspects of wine making from the vineyard to the cellar to the bottle.
And you need no formal education or training to be a winemaker. So be one.
I know a few people that have used facilities such as Crushpad in Napa Valley, and they have been very happy with the results. According to my sources on the ground, representatives from Crushpad were snooping around Bordeaux in early September in hopes of setting up a similar service there, as well as other parts of France.
Honestly, I can’t see how it would work in Bordeaux. Sure, you could buy what amount to distressed grapes in the region (i.e. grapes from small growers that make average and often unsalable wines), but scoring some awesome grapes from a cru classé or some other well-known wine estate would be out of the question.
I asked a few château owners what they thought about Crushpad in Bordeaux, and they laughed out loud. “The margin is in the finished wine. Not the grapes. We are not going to sell our grapes to anyone,” said one owner of a well-known estate in Pomerol.
Who cares? Think about being a winemaker. There are plenty of places to go and make wine other than Bordeaux.
Mr Christopher N Solle — September 19, 2008 6:02pm ET
Farhana Haque — Queens, NY — September 19, 2008 6:33pm ET
Lisa Dornbach — Walnut Creek, CA — September 19, 2008 7:46pm ET
Tim Stephens — Frederick, MD — September 19, 2008 9:40pm ET
James Suckling — — September 19, 2008 11:49pm ET
Stuart Jakub — September 20, 2008 3:25am ET
Andrew J Walter — Sacramento,CA — September 20, 2008 12:45pm ET
Mauricio De Leon — Monterrey, N.L. Mexico — September 20, 2008 9:03pm ET
Sandy Fitzgerald — Centennial, CO — September 22, 2008 11:52am ET
Michael Brill — San Francisco, CA — September 22, 2008 2:09pm ET
James Suckling — — September 23, 2008 3:15pm ET
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