Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Philosophy of the Art of Winemaking....Part One......Section B

There are some in the wine world that wax poetic about the artistic side of winemaking. These are usually the enologists who are hired to make "masterful blends" for wineries around the world. A lot of times, they are the owners who come and sit in on blending sessions prior to bottling. I'll give them that those take skill and that there's a sense of art to them. But for me it goes a little bit in a different direction.

At one point, while reading a wine magazine, I read some importer describing the wines in his book as being made by winemakers who drive tractors not Jaguars. That's what I am. I drive a tractor and dump lugs. As do the people I surround myself with. And this is key to what I think winemaking is about.

There is definitely art in the glass. A sense of quality that happens in the interaction between the wine and the winedrinker (and perhaps the winedrinker's surroundings.) It takes a winedrinker in the act of drinking wine to sense that there is quality in the glass (or a lack of quality.) It's my opinion that art leads to this quality.

The word "art" comes from the Greek, I believe. "Arete" is a sense of goodness reached by "techne" (loosely translated as skill.) Through a technical ability, something good is created. This is art. And, for the Greeks, there was the addition of the divine. An inspiration that occurred, that could usurp techne and lead to even greater goodness.

After reading way too much Plato, I realized that Quality (with a capital "Q") that can be found in art is probably just as much a result of the process as it is the end product. Sure we like to drink the glass of wine. But sometimes knowing where the glass of wine came from and how we struggled to make it sometimes makes it taste better still.

Our winemaking here at Allegro is driven by my need to make better wine. In order to get there, we change our process constantly. And hopefully it shows in the glass.

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