Because my profession as a vigneron is incredibly beautiful and terribly broad, and because I feel a need to show it to you and thank all those people who support me every day, I am delighted to share a part of it with you in this sequence which I’ve entitled “these clusters, my babies”.
After 20 years of being a “Happy Winemaker”, one of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t study for longer. Not that I was a huge fan of school – although, I must admit, I enjoyed some of it – but today I know that wine is teaming with life. Had I studied for longer, I would have learnt more about it and understood it better… the millions of yeasts, bacteria, microorganisms that are born, proliferate and die. The millions of combinations that come together or break apart in order to build the matrix of the wine I produce. I often say that wine resembles our society: there are “good guys” and “bad guys”. If the good guys build my wines, then I’m certain of the result and quality of my Crozes-Hermitage or my Saint Joseph. However, if Mother Nature awakens the wicked, this is when problems start and fast, precise action must be taken. The construction and life of a wine require the presence and life of these billions of microorganisms. The much-reduced quantity of sulphites used in my vinification and ageing processes gives these cells more freedom to live and construct my wines. But, on the other hand, I considerably increase the risk of running up against the “bad guys” one of these days and experiencing various possible quality problems as a result. Nevertheless, good hygiene (I’m talking about the hygiene of my wines here!), coupled with very careful monitoring, enable me to minimize these risks. And, at the end of the day, it makes my work as a winemaker that much more exciting. So, who cares about that advanced diploma that I’ll never have… I am and will remain a “Happy Winemaker”!