Just as there are winemakers who enmesh themselves in biodynamic practices, there are winemakers who get into the techy side of things. I just read an article by Jon Fine about Wine Technology, and some of the methods in practice. The one that got me was putting monitors on grape vines to measure their water intake and determine how much water that part of the vineyard should get.
Testing and data can be really useful—I’ve conducted a few studies of my own—to make sure my Wine Thermal technology is effective in holding ideal wine temperatures. But, it got me to thinking a lot about the appeal of wine and Fine touches on it in his article.
There is a sort of magic attached to the making and drinking of wine (and I am not talking about how everything gets warm and fuzzy when you’ve had too much). Growing, harvesting and crushing grapes requires attention and contact with the fruit and the land. In fact, every part of the process requires attention—and attentiveness. For many, it’s a process of passion and it connects people to early rituals and traditions. There are so many layers involved and so many ways to approach those layers—including a scientific approach. No matter the approach, the enjoyment of the bottle of wine often comes down to two things: flavor and atmosphere. Both are totally subjective.
In my mind, a bottle of wine enjoyed around a dinner table with good friends probably tastes totally different than if I drank it alone on my back porch—or even if I shared it with one very special person. I am not naïve enough to think that its flavor is totally determined by my mood—but I think it plays a part—just like every other little factor that figures into how it got into my hands to begin with. Where the grapes were grown, how humans treated them, whether they were crushed on a rainy or sunny day, the barrel temperatures, contact with skins and stems—all of these things, and many more play a role in the flavor.
I guess that’s my point: Wine is a celebration of the complexities and simplicities that occur at the interface of human invention and natural processes. The wine culture encourages us to pay attention to where things come from and how they are made. In this day and age—that’s not a bad thing. Actually, it never was a bad thing.
I know that I alone can never create the experience of drinking a bottle of wine for someone. I can however try to perfect one little aspect of that experience and perhaps make the whole thing a little more magic.
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