By Drew Baker
Winegrowing is an ancient practice that has evolved over centuries. While ideas and technologies may change, there are some things that can never change. To understand the timeless aspects of winegrowing, we have to know and appreciate the way grapevines are hardwired. So we acknowledge our part in the process, but we see the natural aspects as sacred.
Our aim is to work with the vine with as few inputs as possible. We view great winegrowing as nurture in tandem with nature. No great wine is “manufactured.”
Grapevines are asexual. This means grape seeds only contain the genes of a single vine. Grape clusters begin as flowers containing both male and female reproductive structures. During bloom, these flowers are pollinated by the wind without need for pollinator insects. Each pollinated flower becomes a colorful, sweet berry that attracts animals to eat and disperse the seeds in hopes of propagating a new vine. That’s it. Everything else a grapevine does is a function necessary to ripening grapes for reproduction.
A grapevine that fears a bit for its own existence produces grapes fit for exquisite wines. Drought and nutritional deficiency spur a vine to ripen fruit in an attempt ensure their future. Grapevines that have abundant access to water and nutrients are less concerned with reproduction and more interested in growing lots of leaves – fat and happy, if you will. This is precisely why terroir and site selection is a common denominator of delicious wine. Ripe grapes are the key ingredient in extraordinary wine.
The hard work is done in the vineyard. Ripe, balanced, clean and delicious grapes are the primary ingredient in any noteworthy wine. If you grow beautiful grapes, the winemaking process is nearly effortless; like it’s supposed to be. With flawed grapes, it seems as though no amount of determination can save the wine.
Grapevines thoughtfully cultivated on a site marked by rocky, well-drained, low-fertility soils yield grapes fit for delicious wines.
Put simply: the best wines are made in the vineyard. So we see ourselves as farmers, not “manufacturers.”
Wine & Business
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