I recently came across a YouTube video, How It’s Made or something like that. The story was about a huge wine factory producing millions of bottles of something made from tonnes of grapes. Grapes are grown by some farmers, harvested by machines and then this half-dead mash is taken a thousand kilometres to the factory and…
I couldn’t see it through to the end because I was bored and disgusted. And because it’s not wine. Real wine is made by a winemaker who has grown the vines himself on the same land where his father did. And his grandfather, of course. Well, and so on… I’m not going to talk about hand harvesting, selecting berries, cold maceration and other important things, because that’s a topic for a separate conversation.
As I was watching this video, I remembered an incident that happened a couple of years ago in my wine shop.
A customer came to my place looking for a good Sauvignon. I offered him a few options: from Vipava, Goriška Brda and something else, I don’t remember exactly. I told him about the peculiarities of each wine and the family wineries where they are made.
The buyer listened to me rather indifferently, since he already knew what he wanted.
“Don’t you know that the best Sauvignon in the world is Sauvignon from New Zealand?” he asked in surprise and a little annoyed. “Do you have a New Zealand Sauvignon?”
I didn’t have it.
“Which exactly New Zealand Sauvignon is the best in the world? Who makes it?” I asked.
“I don’t know, some kind of winery,” the buyer replied. “What’s the difference?”
Now it’s my turn to be surprised:
“What does ‘what’s the difference‘ mean? Are you going to drink wine that was made by a person you don’t know and even the seller of this wine doesn’t know? I sell wine and I personally know each winemaker. If one of my customers complains about quality I will not hesitate to contact the producer and find out what’s wrong. I just can’t believe you drink wine made by no one knows who, somewhere 20,000 kilometers away from you!”
We stood and looked at each other, and each thought the other was crazy.
Usually, I never get into arguments with strangers and my interlocutor apparently adhered to the same rule.
Most likely, he assumed: “There is no New Zealand Sauvignon here, because this guy does not personally know any winemaker in New Zealand. Okay, I’ll buy it elsewhere.” So he just politely said goodbye and left. Why did I remember this?
Probably, because watching this video and reading enthusiastic comments on YouTube, I thought something like: “Oh my God, millions of bottles a year! And perhaps, someone is drinking it right now… ”
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People’s attitude towards wines and beverage are changing wine each generation- for sure! What you do is follow your passion. You obviously not only take the wines you carry seriously but, take the time to know the Winemakers themselves. I still believe that a huge part of enjoying wines is in the experience and in the story behind the wines. You appear to be making a sincere effort to share that with those that enter your establishment. Keep up the good work!