Thursday, July 16, 2009

Winebuilder or Winefarmer

The damnedest things get into my head when I am out spraying the vineyard, and this morning was no different. Some days I get a phrase stuck in my head. Other days I struggle to stay awake (since I usually get up around 4 AM). Once in a while I can't keep John Denver's "Country Roads" from driving me insane.

Today I was thinking about the name for the person who grows grapes. The grape grower. My neighbor calls me the grape farmer. And that's more of what I consider myself. Farmer, in the truest, most honorable usage of the word.

There are some of my colleagues that refer to themselves as winegrowers. I don't have a problem with that, as it does link the idea of what we're doing with the end product. That's really what it's all about.

In France and Germany, they don't really have a word for "winemaker." Their thought is that the wine pretty much makes itself after you've grown it correctly. The person doing the vinification had just better not screw it up. In France, the term is vigneron (as in vignoble for vineyard), and for the Germans it's Weinbauer. The German Wein is, of course, wine.

Bauer has a couple of meanings. The verb bauen means to build. But a Bauer is a farmer. (And the jack in a card deck is also referred to as a Bauer.) So, for the Germans, the person who grows grapes and makes wine is called a winefarmer or winebuilder. I like it.

Like I said, I get the damnedest things in my head when I'm spraying.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoy semantic ponderings such as this one. Even if you are a grape farmer, I think grape farmers are exceptional compared to most other farmers.

    Few other agricultural products are tasted so carefully or with such scrutiny as your end product. Few undergo such lengthy or complicated process as yours. Few have to stand up to the aging that your product does.

    You derserve some distinction from a feed-corn farmer!

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