As a wine seller, we do a lot of shows around town. This allows the consumer to taste the wine before they buy and it helps us see whats popular, whats not a big seller, what is trending, what needs more of a push...its all about consumer insight.
when you are doing these shows, we need all sorts. We meet people who only drink Moscato (not that there is anything wrong with that), people that refuse to drink anything other than Malborough Sauvy B (there is something a little wrong with that), people who are just learning to people who are self confessed wine experts.
I personally love the educational side of wine. As I also import Italian Wine, it's great to educate new wine drinkers on wines from all over the world!
However, the other day, I had a question that stumped me. Someone asked me about the wine making process which I diligently explained. I explained how whites and reds are fermented and treated differently. After I had finished my explanation, the gentleman said "so, when do you add the wine flavour?" *Stumped*
"Excuse me?" I said.
"Well, you know the pineapple, lychee, grass notes, berries, pepper, whatever they are, when do you add them in?"
What the heck do I say to that and where do I go from there?
"It's just the characters that come from the grapes" I replied
"But grapes taste like grapes..not pepper and stuff"
I then go onto explain how the grape varieties, soil, climate, wind etc etc etc all impact the aromas and flavours of the wine...not to mention all the vinification. Malo-lactic fermentation, Lees contact, time in oak.
I don't think he really got it but he walked off looking chuffed enough.
I was a little dumbfounded but afterwards, I realised how much I take my wine education for granted. How many people out there really understand the soil types? Did you know that the vineyards of the world sit between latitudes 30 and 50 degrees? Did you know that the soil needs to contain calcium to neutralise pH, iron to assist in photosynthesis, nitrogen, phosphates and potassium? Did you know the different slopes make a difference? Do you know that diurnal range makes a difference? Did you know viticulturalists want rain during budding season but not during harvest? (they don't want to dilute the grapes)...
There is so much that goes into a wine. So much effort...so much time...So many variables.
I guess its time to start doing an educational series on vinification...