Can Wines Speak About Their Producer?
Have you ever considered how many things show other people who we are? I’m sure you have never once considered that your profession, or the way you choose to practice it, reveals your character. If into this equation we include a factor like, let’s say, you’re a maker of something, i.e. you’re an artist, musician, poet, writer, producer of a product, wouldn’t it be fair to say that the work produced discloses information about the creator?
Tomatoes and Grapes Speak?
Now I can see you nodding and agreeing with me if we’re talking about a painting, or any work of art, but can a tomato tell us something about the person producing it? Can a grape or wine tell us anything about the wine producer? I know you think it’s preposterous to even try making such a connection. But, let me try and persuade you that it definitely could. Oh, and I’m not looking for an easy agreement on your part. I want you to really THINK about what I’m saying, think about people you know and ‘see’ my point.
Is it just about decision making?
Today, I will not refer to a specific person or a specific product, but I would rather pose some questions in general. Do you think that the grape variety a wine producer chooses to cultivate is chosen solely by the soil composition of his plot of land, the climatic conditions of his area, altitude, slope, sunlight and other very sensible factors? Why then does a wine producer who knows that a certain variety is very ‘difficult’ to grow because it is very disease prone, or very sensitive to weather changes, or not absolutely suited to his growing conditions decide on that particular variety, despite it all? Why does one wine producer enter into a ‘relationship’ with his vines and another just get on with the day’s chores? Why does one wine producer use absolutely every pesticide available on the market and the other, who is further down, spend sleepless nights so as to avoid doing so? Is it just a matter of professional opinion? Is it a matter of profit? Why does a wine producer decide to defy the rules? Can I take the wines of a winery and without ever having set eyes on the producer make inferences about his character just from the labels on the bottles and what I have in my glass?
Μany wineries work with vine experts, oenologists, graphic designers, marketers, etc., but even when one is working with a team of experts, is it not still up to the wine producer to make a choice between the options he is given every time? Wouldn’t you agree that these choices are made according to character? If one is a very serious, introverted, down to earth person and is offered a design for the label which is playful and witty, or provocative, do you think that person would go for it? If one’s shoulders bear the weight of ones ancestral history and the principle is to honour tradition, would that person go for a very jazzy option? Contrarily, let’s assume that everybody in your region is making barrel weighty wines, that are cellared for ages before being released, but you have decided to make a difference and to produce fruit forward, very slightly barreled wines, cellared just enough to make your aromas blend beautifully, wouldn’t you say that makes you assertive, daring, opinionated and creative? Or perhaps restless and adventurous?
Stick with me
I plan on writing about the personalities behind the wines and how those affect every single aspect of winemaking. How the wine and the wine producer are in a constant exchange and interaction, where each affects and modifies the other. I believe this is the case in any interaction. Stick with me, and I’m sure you will be finding out interesting things about producers, wines and even yourselves.