The Best Parts Of Being A Winemaker

I joke a lot with people about their idealized impressions of my job.  Some think it consists of little more than “tasting wine and having lunch.”  The truth is I love what I do for a living.

As many of you know, Kendall-Jackson recently hosted a number of food bloggers for the first annual Sip, Bite & Blog conference (#SBB11). One of our guests commented that I have “… the best job in the world.”

There are some definitely some great things about my job and one of my favorite parts of winemaking is the harvest. Check that picture at the top of the post!  What’s not to like?

There is nothing like being out on one of our mountain vineyards in the early morning, the fog still sitting in the trees, and the grapes still cold from the night air.

Harvest allows me to do some of my favorite things: spend time in the vineyards evaluating the fruit, deciding when to pick, and smelling and tasting the fermenting juice or grapes.  I love the creativity that is inherent in the winemaking process.

For me in red winemaking, the process of turning grapes into wine is focused on texture.  We have to decide when the fruit is ripe enough to exhibit the right concentration of flavors and tannins.  We have to decide how much tannin to extract from the skins.  We also only get one shot at it.  No do-overs.

Another favorite part of winemaking comes in the evaluation of the wines we have produced and the blending process.  I have already mentioned this part in other posts.  Here we get to really practice our craft and express our creativity.  We finalize the blend and put that blend into bottle.  To be sure, wine is a living organism, and it will continue to change over time, but here the winemaker puts his final imprint on the vintage and the blend.

Finally, winemaking puts us in touch with people.  We get to interact with people who are curious about wine.  I, for one, have the opportunity to discuss wine appreciation and winemaking in several forums, including this blog.

For an extrovert like me, it’s really fun to share with people what I do and why I do it.  I also get to spend time, as I did this past week, appreciating the finest issue of the beautiful place where I live: its fabulous wine and food.  OK, so maybe I do have the greatest job in the world!