Wine and People, People and Wine

So I’ve decided to write about something that has been a focus of my attention in the wine industry. Every time I try to explain to people why I’m so interested in the wine industry I keep coming back to the same thing, people. After a while it occurred to me that it might be something that you all as a whole might be interested in. Being in the hospitality industry your main purpose is to make people happy. Comfortable. At home. I’ve come to realize that wine does the same thing. It goes relatively unnoticed, the effort that is put into a wine before it hits the shelves. There are so many things that have to happen for a wine to be made, but that is not the purpose of this article. The purpose, it would seem, is the people.

Think about it. I’m sure it’s crossed your mind before: Who really makes my Nike shoes, in what random state is my toothbrush made…do they like doing it? The sad thing is that when you think that and then put on your shoes or brush your teeth, you know there is no personal touch added to the product. There is no intimacy involved. Wine is the opposite way I believe. When I open a bottle of wine and starting trying it, I think of the people involved in hand-picking the grapes, the ones who crushed the grapes and set the wine to ferment, those who would tinker in the lab for countless hours looking for that perfect formula. It makes me think whether or not it was a sunny day or not when they picked these specific grapes. What kind of lives these people lived. Most importantly, do they enjoy what they do? I feel you can get a sense of that in the wine. You can tell when people aren’t caring about what they’re doing…the wine starts to taste sloppy, to fall apart. This isn’t always the case but if you’re looking for it you might be surprised to find that you can sense it every once in a while. The really truly outstanding wines come across as caring about you nearly as much as you care about them. The wine itself may have no emotion but the people behind it do. I feel that as in a work of literature, where the author is trying to get across certain emotions and feelings to his readers, a wine maker is trying to do the same thing. He wants you to experience his excitement and indulge yourself in the senses that he has specially developed for your enjoyment.

In most old world wine developing regions, wine is as much a part of the culture as it is a livelihood. The characteristics of the wine reflect what the people value in their wines, and in turn in their lives. You can get a basic grasp of a culture by the way the wines are produced. English wines are very dry whereas German wines are usually quite sweet. I will refrain from giving my opinion on the culture from these basic characteristics because its better if you form your own about them. Remember wine is subjective so whatever you taste, smell, see, or feel are based on you and your personal experiences, along with those of the people involved. If you’re looking for it, you might have a friendly experience with someone thousands of miles away.

In the end, it is the people behind the wine that actually make the wine. You can have a great Appalachian, wonderful soil, and the perfect grapes for the area, but without the right people behind it, it will fall short. So next time you are drinking wine, don’t just look to your senses to help you enjoy the wine, look for the emotion and feelings behind it as well because, trust me, they’re there. It’s a nice way of making a connection with someone that you will probably never meet face to face in real life.

By: Ryan Evans- Wine

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