What Is The Job Of The Winemaker Today?
Simple question, right? “Duh! To make wine!” you might be answering to yourself. What could be more simple than that?
But real wine lovers, and real winemakers, know better; they know that almost no other query could be more complicated, opinionated, difficult, thought-provoking, or (hopefully!)invigorating to answer.
Which is exactly what drove me to ask it.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned after visiting hundreds of winemaking outfits of all sizes all over the world, it’s that no two winemakers ply their craft in exactly the same way, or with exactly the same ends in mind, or exactly the same attitudes. But one thing in that world is consistent: the majority of those same people invariably have passionate stances on both the How and the What of their jobs as winemakers. Theirs are the kinds of viewpoints that make for fascinating reading – and even more fascinating discussion and debate.
I wanted a techy interview, but one with passion, soul, and life . – in the hopes that it would fascinate, entertain, educate and maybe even get your wine blood boiling. To that end, I’ve staked the decks significantly in favor of passionate discussion by posing it to Matt Powell, the force behind Lodi’s Draconis Vineyards. Matt’s wines are focused and powerful – just like his viewpoints. He’s active on social media, is a big fan of comics, and takes his wine very, very seriously; case in point – visitors to the Draconis Vineyards at one point were greeted with the following message:
“I have no lists, clubs, or membership bullshit.”
Matt’s take on the job of the winemaker today? It’s just as straightforward, opinionated, and fascinating as you’d expect form the person who authored that welcome message, and who told me this about a recent vintage: “I tossed the entire 2009’s; weren’t good enough.” A review of one my faves of Matt’s wines follows our interview. Enjoy!…
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Those of you planning on attending the upcoming 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, VA will have your choice of interesting break-out session panels during the afternoon of July 22nd. I’ll be moderating one of them, titled Millennials and Wine.
Millennials are Democratic (by a slight majority), thoroughly on-line and plugged daily into social networking tools, and (by a huge majority) sleep with their cellphones (really?) . They are young enough that they might not get the reference mentioned in the title of today’s post. They are fast becoming the wine consumers of the modern era, drinking a lot of the stuff (even in the shower… not sure I get that one entirely), especially if it has bubbles.
And there are nearly 25 million more of them than there are Gen Xers.
With a potential market that big, if you’re even thinking about wine writing, wine blogging, wine sales, wine marketing, or wine making, you’d better start to understand what makes Millennials tick when it comes to wine.
And you’d better do it quickly…
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In this Episode of 1WineDude TV, we’re talking about why wine books are Exhibit A evidence in the case against printed books being dead. Also mentioned is a cool book about hands that’s (mostly) unrelated to wine but that you might want to check out anyway. Don’t worry, it will all makes sense after you watch. Maybe.
Mentioned in this Episode:
Uhm, like what is this stuff?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine sample tasting notes via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be fun, quickly-and-easily-digestible reviews. Below is a wrap-up of the twitter reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find them so you can try them for yourself. Cheers!
- 08 Calluna Vineyards Cuvee Red (Chalk Hill): Ah, the deep dark cherry & licorice. But things are a little bit hot down in those depths $27 B >>find this wine>>
- 09 Steininger Gruner Veltliner Grand Gru (Kamptal): Hefty! Give it time & the spice & veggies will peep out from behind those pears. $24 B >>find this wine>>
- 99 Ratzenberger Bacharacher Wolfshohle Riesling Spatlese (Mittelrhein): Orange, honey, more vinyl than a 70s sofa & a heck of a value $29 B+ >>find this wine>>
- 03 Chateau Lagrange (Saint Julien): Black cherry, blackberry, black earth, and definitely not quite enough time in the bottle yet. $40 B+ >>find this wine>>
- 08 Wild Horse Unbridled Bien Nacido Vineyard Chardonnay (Santa Maria Valley): Well, helloooo there, you’re a cheeky thing, aren’t you? $24 B >>find this wine>>
- 08 Chateau Tanuda Noble Baron Shiraz (Barossa): So much blackcurrant & potential age-worthiness it could be Cab. Miss the pepper, tho $50 B+ >>find this wine>>
- 08 Draconis Zinfandel Lodi “French Oak” (Lodi): Wickedly complex, spicy side of Zin. Should keep hedonists happy for several years. $28 B+ >>find this wine>>
- 10 Martin & Weyrich Moscato Allegro (CA): Honey, flowers & a flirty streak; in this case, flirting w/ (but happily avoiding!) cloying $12 B- >>find this wine>>
- 09 Concannon Selected Vineyards Pinot Noir (Central Coast): Solid red berry performer but I’d trade in the 2nd round for a higher pick $9 C+ >>find this wine>>
- 09 Dry Creek Vineyard Fumé Blanc (Sonoma County): Patience, grasshopper, the grapefruit will arrive… & you’ll be glad when it does. $12 B >>find this wine>>
- 07 Laumann Family Estate Cambiata Tannat (Monterey): Flowers, spices, plum, anise, chest-hair-inducing tannins & a whole lot to love. $28 B+ >>find this wine>>
- 07 Bonny Doon Vineyard DEWN Bien Nacido Syrah (Santa Maria Valley): Savory peppery red/blue fruits to savor & pepper your taste buds. $40 B+ >>find this wine>>
- 09 Pascal Jolivet Attitude Sauvignon Blanc (Loire): Starts shy, but gets on a mineral-driven, lemony gabby streak once it gets going. $16 B >>find this wine>>