Wine is not the romantic and mystical product so many of those invested in it want us to believe it is. –Hosemaster of Wine
My friend, Ron Washam, is the “Hosemaster of Wine”…a gifted satirist who has had a long history in a number of capacities in the wine business. He posted today on his site his wine wishes for the New Year. In the course of a significantly long post was the quotation I note above. Below is an excerpt of my response to that post.
Wine is magical…
Notwithstanding any “religious” experience one might have had with wine, the mystic traffics in the unknowable-placing himself above and apart from others by virtue of his unique ability to know what no one else can know. Now, while this may describe certain wine professionals it does not describe wine.
Anyone who has had the good fortune to spend years helping to shepherd grapes from the crusher to the fermenter to the bottle, from the fermentation itself, through extended maceration, and then through barrel-aging and time spent in the bottle can never be so blasé about how emotionally full…how magical that process is. Each fermenter is its own Big Bang – a new world coming into existence from the nothingness of grape juice, and while we know a lot about how and why a wine ends up specifically like it does, even 20 years later, the process is sufficiently complex as to still appear magical to me.
There are a lot of people who don’t care about how the thing gets from A to Z…they’re only concerned with how it tastes. There’s nothing wrong with that. Wine’s first job, by its very nature, is to be delicious. But just because one’s interest extends only part way doesn’t mean there aren’t many more depths to plumb.