You probably know what craft beer is, as in the lasts years it has been the protagonist of the beer market. Craft beer is now so popular that, ironically, even big industrial groups are now producing craft beer, clearing out all the craftiness from these beverages.
What about craft wine?
The easiest way to clearly understand what s craft wine, is starting from the opposite, that we all know: industrialized wine. This is the mass-production wine that you can find anywhere, from stores to wine shops, from restaurants to e-commerce.
Because those wines are the ones produced in huge quantities in order to fulfill a market need, studied to encounter the taste of the biggest audience and to sell as much as possible, with the lowest possible investment in money and time (which anyway are heavy). We don’t want to talk about quality here, but we surely have to consider that the peculiarities of the wine, as well as its defects, are flattened by the use of technology, chemistry, and other procedures.
Small winemaker: the craft wine artist
So what are industrialized, or standard, wine missing?
According to us: a soul.
When wine is produced to please the masses aiming to a positive balance at the end of the year, then we could consider it like any other beverage.
Craft wine is different because the motivation that pushes the winemaker through all the difficulties, critics, tough working conditions and extenuating manual harvesting isn’t just money, but the creation of something able to communicate with the customer, and tell him what his philosophy is, how he feels like and how much he loves his land. It’s very similar to what a painter does with his canvas, a sculptor with his marble and a composer with his arrangement.
When able to produce a wine able to thrill the consumer and summon images of Italian landscapes, by working with limited automation and small team, following the timings nature dictates, then also the winemaker deserves to be defined “an artist”.
Craft wine peculiarities
A second major point of difference between industrialized and craft wine is history: much of what you read on the label or brochure of a standard wine is marketing and copywriting, while small craft wineries have often been owned by the same family since generations and their story is long and rich.
During our trips across Italy we got to know wineries dating back to XVI Century, vineyards moved from kingdom to kingdom or used as a battlefield in the XVIII and XIX Century. Every single story is different and interesting, just like every wine differs from the others.
Craft wine: conclusions
Who’s writing this article knows from his direct life experience (20+ years of helping his family in the vineyards) that producing good craft wines it’s challenging on many different levels: even small mistakes have a big impact on the final product, private life often depends on the weather and climate conditions (nature doesn’t follow human schedules), a lot of physical effort and mental planning is required, and if your family is in the wine industry, you start working when still a kid.
All this is a challenging job, but it’s very satisfying too. Uncorking a bottle and seeing the happy faces of your friends or customers when they smell the perfume and taste your wine is priceless.
We don’t argue about the quality of the wine, but we value better a product that has a history and a soul, that tells a real story and communicates something about the winemaker.
This is why Vitium visits personally the wineries and meets the owners: we listen to their stories, learn from their experience, taste their wines and then create dedicated Tasting Guides for you to feel, when you open one of our bottles, like you were in Italy with us, chatting with the winemaker himself.
What about you? What do you value the most in a wine?
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