Aug 15, 2012 What are Words? Words are clumsy. As wine folks we stumble all the time with truly accurate descriptions of our wines, of our approach, of what we are trying to achieve. Wine writers ideally try to help with articulating such things, but we are left then with their filter instead of our own voice. It takes a lot of thought in order to get our words right. One thing I have noticed is that people have been relying more on descriptions of what they are not - instead of what they are. Maybe that is easier, but it leaves much more room for ambiguity. A few examples… No cultured yeast No new oak No sulphur No fining or filtering These non-description phrases still leave me unclear. While these non-descriptions provide an implicit judgment that including such things is bad and therefore not including them is superior, as with most things in life, reality is generally much more complicated than that. Does telling people what the wine is not provide any important insight into what the wine is? If someone were to ask, here is my description of who we are and our approach… We are a group of families, who are also friends, who enjoy good food/beverages and who value sustainability efforts in food/beverage production. We all have non-wine careers, but do this for fun, for the ability to contribute something that we have made with our own hands, and for our hope that others will appreciate the product of our thoughts and efforts. As a result, we do not make much wine compared to the larger wine market, but enough to make and sell our wine at a professional level. While, as winemaker, I am responsible for charting the course of our winemaking activities, we all do the actual winemaking here and have the wine-stained clothes to prove it. Our goal has always been to make wines that we have difficulty buying – which sometimes is about a wine style (our viognier), sometimes wine quality (our sangiovese), sometimes wine value (our red blends). As a result of a range of goals, we have also had a range of winemaking strategies. While employing this range of strategies, there is one constant - we are making thoughtfully produced wine with sustainability in mind. Selling primarily locally, and using a modest amount of handling in order to minimize waste associated with our production. We make wines that highlight the varietal character of the fruit and express layers and depth of flavor. As with words, winemaking can be clumsy and my impression is that much of the wine on the market is clumsily made. Similarly, it takes a lot of thought to make well-crafted wines. Maybe it is simpler to make wine if you begin by eliminating a potential range of winemaking tools and instead leave it up to “nature” or if you have a prescribed industrialized process that all the fruit will experience. The thoughtfulness of our process is a difficult thing to communicate to folks, which is why I love to talk with people in the tasting room and explain our unique strategy for each wine we make. Maybe I am over-blowing the importance of thoughtfulness in winemaking but I don’t think so and I think the difference is reflected in our wines. Do you know how thoughtfully the wine you normally buy is being made? Do you care?