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Where is Wine Made?

Anyone who has visited many winery tasting rooms has probably heard, “Wine is made in the vineyard.”  Wait a minute! Is the speaker trying to tell you that you can just squeeze a pound for so of grapes in the vineyard and you’ll have your glass of wine! No, I don’t think so….

The problem as I perceive it is that winery staff are trying to impress upon consumers the importance of the vineyard without giving due respect to the winemaker.

Sure, you can’t make a quality wine from vineyard grapes that are not cared for correctly. The winemaker can guide the wine into a direction that is desired. At the same time the winemaker, knows how to bring out the characteristics of the grapes he has to work with. The winemaker can also minimize what he does in the winery so that the grapes reflect the grape variety, terroir, and viticulture of the grapes. If the winemaker desires and public demands he can add oak notes or sweeten the wine.

Terry has made an excellent observation, “One can take the same grapes from a vineyard with two different winemakers making the wine; the two wines will be different.”

No matter how one looks at the bottle of wine, the vineyards supply the grapes after careful tending by the vineyardist. The winegrowers will decide the amount of water (if the vineyards are irrigated,) what and when to drop fruit, leaf pulling and more. Once the decision is made to harvest the grapes and this is often a winemaker decision, the winemaker makes numerous decisions involving the crushing of the grapes, aging, oak or no oak, length of aging and much, much more.

So when you hear that  “wine is made in the vineyard” yes owners of vineyards are proud of the vineyards and the terroir their vineyards offer. Nevertheless the winemaker who changes the grapes into wine also has a significant effect on the wine.

Cheers to the winegrowers and winemakers who make quality wines!


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