Technique

The Art of Winemaking

Which of these winemakers is you? Or more appropriately, which of these two scenes, in all likelihood, got you interested in making your own wine? As the fading sunlight gilds the haze on the Provencal hillsides, the peasant trudges the last stone steps to the medieval village, bent under the weight of an old wooden lug loaded with ripe grapes. Scents of lavender and rosemary fill the air, and the bees hover excitedly over the vat as the last of the harvest is dumped in and fermentation begins. With the help of le bon Dieu, the vintage will be rich and flavorful, with aromas of herbs and fruit and the age-old flavors of vineyards hand-tended for centuries. The winemaker will lay the wine in the vat as long as his father showed him; the pressing will come no sooner and no later. Further rackings and even bottling will be determined by his own taste and the cycles of the moon. With luck, in a year or two, the bottled history of this vintage will warm a winter’s night and make