Wine Is a Living, Breathing Thing — Just Like You and I
It might come as a surprise, but we, as humans, share a lot in common with wine. The finest examples of wine show a similar level of complexity and intricacy to us as individuals, and have incredible potential for growth to boot.
Every parent wants the best for their children. Who doesn’t want to see their kids grow up and go on to do amazing things with their lives?! When it comes to wine, those desires are shared with the winemakers, who are, indeed, the wine’s rightful parents. They bring the very idea of the wine’s existence into this world, and nurture it with love and care throughout the wine growing process. Even when the vine is dormant in the early spring, winemakers begin planning for its future with the process of pruning – deciding on the right balance between the number of shoots and the number of buds, which will eventually produce clusters of grapes. Everything that the winemakers do prior to the harvest is performed with the best of intentions and prudence, much like the way our parents lovingly raised us.
The Birth Year
We’ve all got a birth date, and so does wine. Wine is born in a particular vintage – the year in which the grapes for its production were first harvested. The importance of wine vintage can’t be overstated, as it always greatly affects the quality of the wine, largely because of the weather in its growing season.
Someone born in Paris will likely be graced with a beautiful Parisian accent, use certain colloquial phrases, and adopt native manners, tastes, and behaviours. Our nationality and cultural origins serve to offer up a hint of what we’re like to other people. Wine, or to be more precise, grapes, act in a very similar way. Depending on their country and region region of origin, the particular terrain on which they were grown, the particular angle of sun exposure (all things we refer to as the ‘terroir’), grapes, too, have their own very unique features and eventually become a beautiful wine with its own beautiful idiosyncrasies.
That’s right — more often than not, wine, too, has siblings. In this case, I’m referring to other wines produced by the same winemakers. While they will always receive the same amount of attention, care and love, they’re like to show very different characteristics, express different ideas, and strive for their unique goals in life.
Just like our upbringing affects our personality, wine, too, is affected by how it was ‘brought up’. The type of barrels used, for example, the amount of time spent it spent in either wood, cement or stainless-steel, the combination of different techniques used to nurture and enhance the uniqueness and individuality of this particular wine, they are all a part of the wine’s unique upbringing.
Think about how growing up in a busy city, or in a secluded farm, might have affected you. Just like us, a wine’s character is heavily influenced by its environment. The microclimate and various weather conditions like unexpected hailstorms and severe gusts of wind all affect vineyards, and wine can just as much be heavily influenced by birds, kangaroos and other wild animals within the given region.
Freedom and Emancipation
The moment that we ‘come of age’, or ‘flee the nest’ if you will, is a hugely important milestone in our lives. Similarly, wine is emancipated on its release day, after the winemaker has given it all of their love, attention, sleepless nights, knowledge and craftsmanship and, of course, the family legacy.
The Future and Our Destiny
As we said earlier, every parent wants their children to grow up and do amazing things with their lives, and I believe every young boy and girl hope for their greatest, most ambitious wishes to come true. After its release date, the wine’s ‘dream’ is to be destined for greatness – to be a part of the greatest wine lists globally, to be enjoyed from the finest glassware at the right temperature, to be appreciated and savoured, and to be a part of unforgettable moments and events.