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Hands-Off Practitioners

The Vine Files #5

· Wine,Food,VineFiles,Video,Health

The World's Best Winemakers will tell you that wine is made in the vineyard; once they harvest it, they try more than anything else not to screw it up. Between the grape state and the wine state, maybe a dozen good things can go right and thousands can go wrong. Therefore-mathematically, at least-the less you do, the safer you are. The winemaker who does the least often makes the best wine.

"The best wines are those that take you through themselves and out into another world that you could not have gotten to on your own. Great wine has a strange subterranean current of beauty. It is not something you can summon from a wine; but a great wine can take you there." -Terry Theise, Wine Importer and Author

Mark Inglis, a winemaker at Brancott-Montana Wines, New Zealand's largest winery, won his job twenty-odd years ago in a competition. The winery hired a handful of aspiring apprentice winemakers, and gave each a small batch of juice. They said "here you go, make wine," Inglis said. "From there, you could get all the help you asked for, but it was up to you."

Inglis sipped the juice. "It tasted pretty good as it was," he said. "I decided I didn't want to do too much to it." That kind of thinking won him the job, and he helped launch the winery and enunciate its signature style: wines with extreme clarity that illuminate the grapes' character, not the winemaker's presence.

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Wine Lover's Devotional Jonathon Alsop

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