When I worked in Burgundy back in 2004, I was lucky enough to work for a brilliantly talented vignerone who explained on my first day that she has a very close relationship with her vines. I thought she was mad until six months later, just after harvest, I found myself standing amongst her vines apologising to them for stealing their grapes after all their hard work!
There is something very special about the relationship between vine and man, which only growers/wine makers experience. Each year, the different challenges and rewards strengthen the grower’s relationship with their vineyard. ‘Terroir’ is a concept that partly encapsulates this idea of intimacy in its most fundamental form. Along with the varying soils, unique climate and inputs from both the viticulturalists and the wine maker, Terroir is also about the history and traditions of a particular wine-growing region. This is something we don’t yet have in England!
However, the lack of history and tradition in England allows us, as a new world wine producing country, to pick and choose traditions and cultural methods both in the vineyard and the winery. In short we are not bound by appellation’s rules, which can stifle innovative thinking. On a final note, if I was to try and express my philosophy in one word to describe the process from vineyard to the cork popping, it would be ‘Balance.’