“So are there any differences between winemaking in America and Europe?” a fellow traveler asks as we gaze out over an expanse of Beaujolais vineyards sheltered beneath a canopy of soft blue morning sky.
binNotes pauses to ponder this question. Differences? “Well,” I begin, “in my opinion, wine makers in America tend to focus on business – acres and acres of vines and endless arrays of expensive irrigation systems. In Europe, winemaking appears more a part of the culture – about maintaining a quality of life. Of course, that’s a broad brush stroke. And, as evidenced in the movie “Bottleshock,” apparently many European wine makers also embrace the American focus on profit.”
“Conversely,” I continue, “many American wine makers have begun to embrace ‘terroir,’ paying acute attention to the soils, vegetation, climate, topography and other intangibles which give a wine its uniqueness, focusing on the art and craft of winemaking, and not just the business of growing grapes.”
And then I shut up. No need to belabor the point while standing before vineyard-laced hillsides and church spires hundreds of years old. My fellow traveller and I stand in quiet homage to the scene before us, before moving on our separate ways.
One thing binNotes has learned traveling abroad: Terroir represents a living thing, not a concept. Terroir embodies the soul of a wine, providing the back story that gives a wine its character – a story binNotes intends to focus on in future postings. Cheers!
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