When I drive around Long Island to do business with my accounts, I’m forced to spend a lot of alone time in the car, hours and hours of alone time, and when I commute to the office in the city, my ride on the Long Island Railroad is 2 hours each way. So let’s just say that I have to spend a lot of time by myself on account of work - and when I’m not reading, listening to my ipod, or practicing French with the Pimsleur discs in the car, I get to do quite a lot of thinking.
And while I love reading and listening to music and learning French, I think time alone is best occupied with thinking. Sometimes I’m even quite surprised by the thoughts I arrive at when I’m alone, and how those thoughts translate into productivity.
Obviously, among many thoughts that I have, wine is among the most often to pop into my mind, especially when I’m alone. I think about wines I’ve had, wines I want to have, anything pertaining to wine, really.
But one of the things that I think about - well, I’m not sure how to describe it, but it’s part of the love and respect I have for the wine and all who are involved in it. A few months back, I was speaking to a young winemaker around my own age, from France. He was telling me so many wonderful things about his family’s vineyards and winery. But when he spoke about his favorite of their vineyards - by no means the most prestigious of their holdings, but rather the most ancient, cultivated by his ancestors, I could see the pride and emotion in his eyes and hear it in his voice. It wasn’t the premier cru - it was the vieilles vignes.
I understand that not everyone has the same feeling about wine, just as no two people have the same feeling about anything in particular, but there’s truly something to be said for the passion and dedication and diligence shown by many people in the industry. And while I have great respect and admiration for lots of them - sommeliers, retailers, importers, etc., those who I believe deserve the highest degree of admiration are the grape growers and winemakers themselves.
And I also understand and revere what goes into those that are considered the most important wines in the world - those from Bordeaux and other parts of France, some from Tuscany and Piemonte and Veneto, Rioja, Mosel, and Napa - I understand that it’s taken centuries of perfecting the art of grape growing and winemaking to achieve such greatness. But while those wines deserve special treatment, special glasses and decanters and everything that goes with the special experience of opening bottles that we’ve only read about and dreamed about for so long, I believe that the wines produced by those who may not have the same financial resources, the same extravagant facilities, the same advantages - their wines should be treated just as specially.
Think of the time, money, effort, and emotion that goes into making wine. For some, it’s a constant struggle of depending on the weather, fewer employees, less technology - wouldn’t you agree those wines and their makers deserve special treatment too? Shouldn’t we bring out the good glasses and the good decanter and give attention to those wines too? Their wines might just be among the most pure, in some instances.
Please support the vignerons independants and small producers - not simply by buying their wines, both from abroad and on the local level, but also by giving those wines the attention they deserve and the respect that their makers have earned.