Wine comes from grapes, starting with great fruit will produce great wine, but starting with horseshit will create undrinkable wine.
Wine makers around Australia openly profess the importance of the marriage between climate, soil and vines to grow perfect fruit. Each year the unique combination of weather conditions dictates the growth of grapes that will be used to create great wines.
Sitting with Hunter Valley wine maker Michael Hudson from Petersons Family Wines he simply and refreshingly explains it “You can’t turn horseshit into fairy floss!”
Over an afternoon of sampling Peterson’s still and sparkling wines on a balcony overlooking the valley, Michael goes on to explain the relationship between mother nature and farming vineyards. His passion and love for the fruit is evident as he explains how temperature, sunshine and rainfall throughout all phases right up until the minute of harvest effects the characteristics and flavours of the fruit.
In interviews with leading Australian wine makers you’ll always hear them talking about the fruit before wine making as the most essential element in crafting great wine.
“Its inherent fruit quality, that’s where it starts, we get some fantastic fruit from this vineyard” say Bob Cartwright talking about his Leeuin Estate Art Series Chardonnay.
Emmanuelle Bekkers from Bekkers Wine “As a winemaker you are only there to unveil what the grapes have to offer”.
“Essentially the style produced is driven by the fruit characteristics” Ben Howell from Montara Wines.
Vasse Felix wine maker Virgina Willcock explains “If you get amazing fruit to start with and you make sure it follows its pathway so you’re getting the very best out of it, then you know you’re going to get something truly great”
“When you get fruit as good as you do in Tasmania, you don’t really have to do a lot and as a winemaker, you’ve got to learn to put your hands in your pockets and let the fruit sort of realise its potential.” Jim Chatto chief winemaker for McWilliams
The next time you open a bottle of wine, think about how many individual grapes that have grown in the sunshine, wind and rain of a vineyard went into the making creating that great wine in your glass.