During my excursions in the world of wine I’ve talked with many people, some of them ended up in the articles of my blog, some of them have just given me some advice or infomation. I’ve concentrated myself on the production side, and in the production side I’ve talked about the leader figures (for example here and here) or about the organitations on the whole (for example here and here). But in the process of wine growing there are many other “invisible” people, whose contribute to the final result is necessary and precious.
How does the world of wine really work? Three key figures, three different stories.
There are people who own vineyards, but not always these people are the ones who cultivate it. Especially in other systems, where winegrowing is not the principal activity of a family: they delegate everything concerning the relationship with the vineyards. The farmers who look after every step of winegrowing are usually people without higher education, but they have an extremely deep know-how due to dedication and habit. These people deal with treatments, pruning and so on until the grape harvest.
In Trentino Region there’s an institution that highly influences and helps the life of wine growers: Istituto Agrario of San Michele. Their consultants are in charge of divulging information, new techniques and so on to the wine growers, often by going personally to the vineyards. This service is essential because the farmers or the wine producers have not always the necessary skills.
Every year grapes grow, at the end of September begins the harvest and then all the issue goes to the wine cellar: the process of winemaking is really complex and for the time being it’s hard for me to explain every step. But where there’s a complexity there’s always also a solution, in this case a specialized person who takes care and makes decisions in that field: the oenologist. He usually is a graduate chemist which is employed by wineries in order to “create the wine”. [Of course there’s a big polemic about who really makes the wine, whether the farmer or the oenologist…] The oenologist has to control the fermentation, chose the blends and to sum up he holds the crucial responsibility of the success of the wine.