Wine comes from grapes, starting with great fruit will produce great wine, but starting with horseshit will create undrinkable wine.
Wine makers around Australia emphasise 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 winemaker 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 the art of viticulture. 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 winemakers 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”, says Bob Cartwright talking about his Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay.
Emmanuelle Bekkers from Bekkers Wine says that “ss a winemaker you are only there to unveil what the grapes have to offer”.
“Essentially the style produced is driven by the fruit characteristics”, says Ben Howell from Montara Wines.
Vasse Felix winemaker 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”.
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.