Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Part 2 of a series "There are three kinds of wineries in this world, my friend . . ."

 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, a.k.a. the Authentic, the Vanity, and the Corporate.
(In Cal-Ital, we call them Il Buono, Il Brutto, y El Nino.)

In the scene above, the Vanity winery moves in next to the Authentic winery;  the guns represent the huge, deep new wells they drill, enabling them to flood their acreage in July in the middle of a drought and plant nursery-started green-growing vines instead of dormant cuttings in spring.  They're in a hurry!
Soon afterward, the Authentic winery's wells go dry.

"Hey, what happened to my vineyard?!?"

     The Vanity Winery's owner got rich doing something supremely, somnolently boring and/or utterly odious, according to your perspective, dear reader, (real estate development, environmental law, waste disposal, rock band management) and is heavily motivated to start his winery by the hoped-for purchase of social status and the drowning of nightmares.  (There are female examples of the type, but 'exceptio probat regulam';  they are rare and will go unmentioned.)
     The tasting room and offices generally represent an obscenely large fraction of the winery's cost, and there are ostentatious displays of questionable artworks that have no relation, symbolic or otherwise, to Elvis Presley.
Perhaps he wears a powerful cologne more expensive than any of his wines, but he almost always has little real knowledge of viticulture or enology; in the worst cases, he pretends to be or actually is the winemaker.  (If the latter, the visitor should be prepared to spit with 99.44% efficiency.)  
     In extreme cases, the owner will be seen to use horses in place of a tractor in the vineyard when there are cameras present, much as the Hollywood Morgul drives a Prius by day and a Bugatti by night.  In Napa, there will frequently be caves, unnatural, if not a Batmobile taking up valuable barrel space.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

"You see, in this world there are three kinds of wineries, my friend . . ."

"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly."

Just kidding - that's a takeoff on Clint Eastwood's line to Eli Wallach at the end of Sergio Leone's marinara masterpiece, and while a loaded (squirt)gun can be useful when confronted with an obnoxious wine writer, digging pomace is killing work.

Pardon me: that train of thought derailed before it left the station!  I'll start over.
The three kinds of wineries are:
"The Authentic, the Vanity, and the Corporate."
(There will be no pseudoscientific Venn diagrams here to tell you that the categories partially overlap - I just did.  Other types of wineries we will ignore: e.g. Hopeless Amateur Vinegar Works.)

The Authentic Winery's owner and winemaker are often the same person;  if not, the owner knows how to do some parts of the winemaker's job, not just lying to wine writers.  If there is a pristine copy of a book on biodynamic wine somewhere on the property, perhaps hovering in midair or buried in a compost pile of unicorn dung, there is also a much-worn copy of Professor Emile Peynaud's textbook in office or lab.  The wines are at least palatable, in proportion to the achievable quality in the region and the experience level of the Authentiste, and for the purposes of authenticity it matters not if the winery is in a garage in Bordeaux or a cement monolith on the edge of Death Valley.  I withhold judgement on the winery in downtown Chicago, and no, I did not make that up.

The next blog post will discuss Vanity wineries, which are a lot funnier.  Stay tuned!

Band practice

Band practice