Winemakers are modern day wizards. What else, but magic, can describe the transformation of mere fruit into wine? A winemaker’s mission is a heroic pursuit of great difficulty. For good wine to prevail over evil vinegar and wretched flavours, winemakers must vanquish villains like the acetic acid bacteria and brettanomyces, and play with oxygen like a pyro plays with fire. The magic doesn't stop there though: winemakers fly! Okay, okay, it may be by plane, but winemakers are known for flying to distant lands to work their magic on grapes.
Before harvest kicks off (and it's kicking off very soon) I've had the chance to fly myself to visit fellow sorcerers in both the Okanagan (Canada) and Sonoma (US) wine growing regions. Through the lens of wine I’ve got to explore and discover more about these beautiful parts of the world. What’s become clear is that despite the incredible differences found in these exotic locations-climate, soils, varieties, winemaking sorcery- there's always one magnificent constant: Camaraderie. Not only do we winemakers share a passion for wine, we also share this strange experience we affectionately call “harvest” or “the crush”. It lasts about 3 months, but I swear it feels like some other dimension of time. What I love most about harvest are the stories that we get to share with one another at the other end. Some stories come straight out of a The Brothers Grimm fairy-tale. For me these stories and this camaraderie is the real magic.
Good luck to all the Northern Hemisphere folk about to set out on their winemaking adventure.
Here are some snaps from all over Sonoma: