Wine is an end in and of itself. A lot of people use wine as a way to further their political or philosophical agenda. For example, people who believe in environmentalism think that wine production should be sustainable. I like to make good wine regardless of politics or philosophy. I hope that wine in 10 or 20 years still tastes great. Pragmatically, that probably means that it will preserve some of our longstanding agricultural traditions and a respect for nature while exploring new and exciting ways to delight drinkers. It should also get pretty girls a little tipsy. 🙂
People who think they know everything and have nothing more to learn. Wine, like all art, is constantly evolving and finding new ways to please people. But winemakers, like many artists, often fall into this trap of thinking that contemporary views on wine are the end-all, be-all. I just want to have fun making delicious wines and sharing them with drinkers around the world. And I’m willing to bet that my idea of what constitutes great wine will change dramatically over time. And hopefully I’ll have kids one day who think my idea of good wine is ludicrous and old school. And, god willing, their kids will make fun of their views one day. Art never stops evolving.
– Pourquoi s’intéresse-t-on au vin quand on a une vingtaine d’années ?
Haha, because that’s when you’re legally allowed to start drinking in the USA. I think wine is inherently interesting like music or movies. But consuming wine when you’re six years old is bad for your body so you can’t really get passionate about it. But when you’re twenty, you’re physically ready for it. And you probably have some coin to spend too. My allowance when I was six wouldn’t have covered many bottles of wine.
I’m joking around here, but there’s also a very serious element underlying this conversation. Music, movies, fashion, and lots of things are pushed forward by disenfranchised youth. These industries are kept young and changing because kids are always pushing the boundaries. No record executives in the 70s thought we should record young black men talking rhythmically about social issues in the inner city. But one day, that’s what kids demanded to hear and so the record execs followed suit. And now hip hop is one of the most commercially profitable music forms in the western world, dominating most of the charts. In wine, we don’t have those rebellious twelve year olds. Throughout the 70s and 80s, most drinkers started drinking at an age where they were already part of the system.
That said, I’m really happy to see more and more twenty somethings who drink wine while they still have a healthy disrespect for authority. That disrespect is important. It helps promote change.
– Selon vos propres critères, le vin est-il trop vieux, poussiéreux ?
The industry is decrepit. I talked about record executives earlier and I think you could say the same thing about film studios, art galleries, restaurant guides, and so on. As soon as you put commercial constraints on an artistic/artisanal job, there is a risk of developing an “industry”. Many parts of the wine trade are slow, unevolving, overly legislated, and corrupt. That’s what sucks about wine.
The good news is that old systems tend to die of old age. New mechanics are constantly popping up that better fit our needs. I’ll probably rant about how amazing Naked Wines is by the end of this interview.
– Le vin naturel, le vin nature, ça représente quelque chose pour vous ?
I think that’s an overly simplistic and misleading label. I understand how the term can be useful within a community of wine geeks to describe a specific style of wine or school of winemaking. But I think that, like the organic label, it is being misrepresented to the consuming public. When people have heard of vin nature, organic, biodynamic, raisonée, or any other labels, they generally misunderstand what the terms mean. I remember reading about how some organic farmers in the US vehemently opposed government certification of an organic label because they knew that terrible corporations would be able to lobby the politicians and pay them to have the right to do ridiculous things and still label their products organic. And that real indie farmers who did their jobs the right way with respect and a focus on quality would end up drowned in a sea of so-called “organic” competition.
All this said, I love that people are curious about natural wine, sustainable wine, biodynamics, etcetera. It’s really fantastic that consumers are concerned. I just also think we as farmers (and especially wine vendors) focus too much on labels and oversimplifcations.
– Vous vous voyez où dans 10 ou 20 ans ?
I don’t know, but I’ll be drinking.
– Le vin qui vous a le plus marqué ?
Every glass of wine has the potential to be great. Some of my fondest memories are over remarkably bad wine. 😀 It’s about who you’re sharing the wine with most of the time.
But I guess I’ll reveal my enormous egocentrism (perhaps another youthful quality) and admit that the most significant wine I ever tasted was my O’Syrah 2005. That was the first wine that finished its fermentation and it was officially the first wine I’d ever made. It tasted really young and I didn’t know how to taste young wine and so it felt sort of awkward and I was a bit worried, but it was delicious anyway.. There was this overwhelming sense of pride to know I’d followed this wine from the vine all the way to the glass. I knew where it came from and I helped it on its way.
– Le vigneron qui vous a le plus marqué ?
Hah, there’s a lot of characters in the wine world. Agriculteurs are so interesting. But I think it’s worth mentioning that some of the best farmers leave almost no impression on you when you meet them. And then you taste their wines and realize just how interesting the person is.
– Votre site préféré sur le vin ?
Vindicateur, of course ;P Seriously, I’m a shitty person to interview because I never know how to answer questions like who is your favorite…, what was the best…, and I always just answer the last thing I was thinking. Like my memory only lasts about twelve minutes. So right now, the only wine website I can even think of is yours. Clever to put the question so deep in the interview!