Saturday, March 3, 2012

Creative winemaking part 2, in which we confess our error

In our previous post we mused about the nature of creativity in winemaking. To wit: is there any, or even room for any?

We compared winemakers to chefs, contrasting the way in which chefs are applauded for novel technique and approaches to food, while the winemaker is expected to get out of the way and allow the grape to express itself.

Part of the difference, of course, is that food has few boundaries, even if it does have tradition. A Béchamel must be a Béchamel, but if the cook changes it enough that it becomes something new, no one seems to mind. A chef can use wine, but if a winemaker uses food, the product is no longer wine. In that sense wine is constrained.

Béchamel. Thank you Wikipedia.
But really, I missed the point. The nature of creativity is all but impossible to discuss because it can't be known until it appears. If we say “X would be something new in wine,” we've already created it. All that remains is the doing. I would argue that wine types beyond still wine, such as sparkling and fortified arose out of creativity, along with creativity's dance partner, good fortune. Other winemaking differences or preferences are more reflections of style than of creativity.

Where and when the next creative breakthrough will arise remains to be seen. We'll work on it. Promise.

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