It’s not just wine!

When was the last time you had a glass of wine?

Yesterday with dinner? Sunday evening sitting by the fire? Or perhaps you were out to lunch with some friends and decided to splurge on a nice bottle of wine.

Wherever it was, whenever it was, and with whomever it was: I bet you enjoyed that glass!

Though how often do you stop to think about the winemaking steps that took place to get that great wine in the bottle you are pouring from? And how often do you think about the winemaker (or team of winemakers) who MADE that wine?

I have had such fun getting to know winemakers, those amazing people who make the wine that we all enjoy, in many different winemaking regions of the world. They range from outgoing, belly-laughing people to people who are quiet and reserved, and everything else in between.

When thinking about the art of winemaking, I often think of Pierre, a winery owner just outside of Aix-en-Provence, who, the first time I met him, exclaimed: “I make wine to drink with the food I like” – go for it Pierre! Why NOT make wine you yourself want to drink is what I say!!!

Then there’s quiet and reserved winemaker Agnes, in the appellation of Bandol a few miles from the Mediterranean coast about 30 minutes east of Marseilles. She initially travelled down from Paris to visit her parents many years ago and never left – she now runs her family’s French winery.

I recall Marc in Can descRegut, a small boutique winery outside of Barcelona, who works alongside his wife and a few temporary hands at harvest season to make outstanding wines. At descRegut, there is a personal touch added to the wines from harvest to label design.

I think of Oriol in Spain who teaches kids to make wine (well not wine exactly but he does teach them the basics of harvesting and crushing) so that they really understand that part of their culture. After class, Oriol runs over to his very small winery and makes wine himself with his assistant because, as he said, “I studied chemistry in university and couldn’t WAIT to get out of that place to actually do something important!”

Then there is Hugo in the Rhone Valley who has that wicked twinkle in his eye and that Irish brogue that melts my heart as he insists that “I want you to LICK the rocks here so that you can taste the minerals in my wine”. Now that’s passion you can pour into a bottle!

I remember the marvelous, local winemakers whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with one way or another in Niagara. Ross and David and Diane and Ron... and, and, and... the list just goes on.

So every time I pick up a bottle of wine from my collection, I smile. I see those people, I can hear their voices speaking to me, I can feel their excitement and joy... and as I DRINK their wines, I taste their passion.

Yes, wine is no longer “just” wine for me. I associate it with the places I’ve been, the winemakers I know, the food I’ve tried it with, and most of all, I associate wine with a feeling of adventure and discovery. It is now Exploration Wine, if you will.

Interested in finding out how you can join me on a visit to the heart of winemaking? Or in seeing how wine changes when you talk to the people who actually make it? Then come and join us! Click here for more information.

Enjoy your wine... there’s a lot more to it than you might have imagined!