Well, not everyone’s dreams lead them to France. And, much the same, not all roads lead to Burgundy. In that same thought, I can’t imagine not going to France to make wine. Not too long ago I was on the less exciting side of a Harvest. Just waiting for it kept me up at night. I couldn’t wait to get my hands dirty, to see the fruit coming in. And the experience was awe inspiring. Nothing can take away from that.
Now, just to back up a bit, French wines (Burgundy to be exact) were the first wines that set off alarms with me. Californian wines have provided me with many memorable experiences. The ability to age has been at times mind blowing. Yet, with the wines of Burgundy, there is a delicate strength, seductive grace, that just speaks to all of my senses. I have to try to learn how to make something that beautiful. Something that is expected to age. Something that will be given the chance to age, time to develop. I want to make a wine that follows the tradition of a great Burgundy. And, I simply cannot do the wine justice by attempting to make a Burgundy in California. To me, our local wines are best when they wear their origins on it’s sleeve. At times graceful, other times powerful. Nothing can take away from that. Yet, here in California, I can’t make a Burgundy. And adding my name to the list of others making excellent wines out here does not clear me of this passion and drive that I have for these two specific regions that got me started with this path.
Until recently, this was just a dream. I needed to take a run at it in California first. I had to first get dirt under my nails, let pain seep into my back, and earn a few bloody knuckles. I needed to see the work without to silky sheen of romance creating a haze over my view. One thing I have learned is that making wine is never like what you imagine it to be before you actually jump in and do it. No one is waiting to congratulate you when all is done. The wine is done, hopefully you have learned something that will help in next year’s harvest and you prepare for the next year.
Well, I have been preparing. I have been studying French. Not just the language, but the culture, history and vinification methods. We are set to take a run at it in France. We, as in my family will be taking a small, initial trip to France this coming February to sort things out. I will be going door to door, resume in hand looking for two things: a stagiere (internship) and fruit from Burgundy with the goal of coming back before June for a longer stay. Like I say, I can’t guarantee how things will turn out. But, you will all be in on the process of my journey. Thankfully, I have a good amount of friends that are currently helping the cause by looking for positions for me in both Burgundy.