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Garrett Portra
December 28, 2016 | Carlson Vineyards, Family | Garrett Portra

What is winemaking?

What is winemaking?  I see it as a bit of a lot of things balled up into one occupation.  To me winemaking is primarily 3 things and I love all three.  At its core it is Agriculture.  You can't make great wine without great grapes.  Can you make wine from sub par grapes? Sure, but it won't be great wine.  The level the grapes are when they enter the winery is the time when that wine has the highest potential.  Every year the quality and quantity change depending on the weather and how the grapes where managed.  Every year we watch the weather.  Will it be a cold winter, an early frost, will we get enough rain.  Every year as a winemaker with deal with these elements.  Wine at its best is farm to table. 

Wine is art and science.  To some these terms are almost opposites.  To me they are intertwined in winemaking. I love the fact that as a winemaker I have the opportunity to create something.  I get to put in the work then wait for the rewards at the end.  I don't like to say non-intervention winemaking.  Do I want the grapes to be the star? Absolutly! But even in the purest form I decide on when to pick, what to blend, how much oak and what kind of oak, when to bottle and a myriad of other decisions that need to be made along the way to get those grapes to the final stage.   I like to see our cellar as our studio.

Last but not least wine is about people.  Wine in my mind is meant to be enjoyed with people.  It is an experience we get to share.  I must make wine people will enjoy and wines I enjoy to make.  In the tasting room I want to produce an atmosphere that leaves people wanting to come back.  Without people wine becomes just another beverage.  When you go out to dinner no one will ask if you had water or soda but they will be interested in what wine paired best with your pasta.

Growing up I caused a lot of frustration for my parents.  I was always going 100 mph in all directions.   Winemaking is perfect fit for me  becasue it allows me to dive head first into all three of these things.  I hope this becomes evident anytime you taste our wines.                Cheers!





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@ Jan 12, 2017 at 3:24 AM
That was a beautiful write up on wine making production. I have seen the wine production in films only and I have heard that it takes years to form a wine.

Ellie's Gravatar
@ Feb 25, 2017 at 9:39 AM
I always love the fact that as a winemaker I have the opportunity to create something. I have to put in the work then wait for the benefits after finishing it.

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