My connection with nature came at an early age, playing unsupervised along my own creek in my own forest. Since then, interaction with Mother Nature has become a form of spirituality, and drives everything I do.
Wine, to me, is a spiritual beverage. It is mystical, magical, and at it's core: natural. Wine occurs without mankind. If a grape falls from the vine and breaks open as it hits the ground, the yeast on the skin and in the air begins to eat the sugar inside the grape. Fermentation occurs. A squirrel gets drunk. Mother Nature, left to her own devices, is the greatest winemaker the world has ever known. Those who strive to achieve the same greatness should be stewards of the Earth first, and winemakers second. If the grapes are grown in the right place and the farm itself is treated as a living entity, manipulation will need to be minimal.
Unfortunately wine has, like all things, become a commodity. Corporations push for larger yields and wider AVA's to fill a need of their own creation. Brands, to them, are created in the boardroom by marketing groups and the wine is made by teams of food scientists. Place is irrelevant. Terms like "authenticity" come out of these same board rooms and brands are bought and sold without a single vineyard ever changing hands. Many of the small producers have begun to follow suit. Chemical additives and treatments, yeast enhancers, inorganic fining agents, animal products, and colorants are all used to maintain "consistency".
But why should wine be "consistent"? Is weather consistent? Is the meal you plan on eating consistent? Shouldn't wine be a direct reflection of the growing season, of the various natural influences, of the whims of the winemaker? Isn't the story not created in a marketing session, but instead on the farm?
Since the beginning of my career, my focus was to make wine “approachable” to neophytes while providing stellar service to veteran consumers, somm-driven restaurants, and retailers who actually give a damn.
updates coming (a manifesto doesn't write itself).