Making wine is often romanticized, a never-ending luxury of tasting through the infinite rows of barrels, of crowds of people toasting and having a great time. While this may be the case at times, the reality is that winemaking, when done right is much more personal. This happens in the silence of your head when you are thinking through every step of the process, evaluating the procedure implemented the previous harvest and it's affect on the aging wine. Assessing every step and calculating the many hundred more to come, penalizing yourself for the most minor of inaccuracies.
The science/chemistry that comes with this craft is generally discounted, as no one wants to think about the numbers. For me it begins with the fruit, visiting the vineyards, adjusting management as necessary, tasting the berries. I know what style I need to make, so it’s a matter of how these berries are best treated in order to achieve that goal.
Certain soils naturally lend themselves to nurturing the fruit beautifully, balancing the levels of acidity, sugars and overall flavor profile. I love that aspect, but when the weather has a hand in what we receive the mad science comes into play, it is at this point I determine how the end of the growing season should be managed, how much fruit should be left out or dropped, how this fruit will be fermented, in what vessel with what yeast, how hard to press, what barrels too use, additional air to add or not… etc. No different than a skilled Chef evaluating the produce to make his best meals, great wine or even good wine doesn’t happen by chance, but by design.
In the silence of my own imagination is where the true magic of wine really comes from, the sharing and enjoying with people makes it worth the sleepless nights.