Most of us are creatures of habit when it comes to things like buying wine, sometimes even whisky, especially if those products are daily beverages. We would like to walk into the store, buy our Silver Oak look-alike for $10-20, and pop a cork. Walking into a retail outlet in my neighborhood recently, I was struck by the statement they made regarding the products they carry (listed below). Our own personal styles and politics inevitably leak into all facets of our consumerism, liquor and food included. Someone who buys organic foods may spill over into organic wines. Likewise someone spiritual may prescribe to only drinking biodynamically. Or we may just buy what our fathers bought, ie Bordeaux and its Cabernet friends. The wine market is always changing, as the Berry Brothers price list in the picture will attest.
The retailer in question has outlined their own buying principles under the header “Real Wine.” What exactly does this mean? Isn’t all wine real? More importantly, should we as consumers even bother thinking about whether the wine we drink belongs in the “real category.” I’ll give my own opinions about this next week, but in the meantime read the list for yourself.
Crafting wine is no easy task. It takes dedication, hard work and passion. By real wine we mean crated by real people and not institutions.
Low Yields: vignerons who do not try and extract more from their vines. They take what the vines can give. If that means they can only produce a small amount of flavourful wine so they can maintain their standards – so be it.
Stewards of the Land: people who farm in a responsible, sustainable manner. They craft wines with style personality and flavour unique to their place or origin.
Natural winemaking: this can be taken to extremes, in our context, vignerons who use natural yeast. These yeasts are found on the grapes and not in a packet or catalogue.
Minimal or no filtration: no stripping out of flavour; this may mean you may find some sediment in your wines.
Refreshing to taste: too many wines rely on high alcohol for flavour. Wine is a beverage which is refreshing not fatiguing to drink; you want to have a second glass.