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Does the quality of the grape connect to great taste?

This question turned up on the back of a questionnaire I do to gauge what people already like and where their tastes are. It piqued my curiosity. Everything grows in the beautiful Bay of Plenty! People are sharing cuttings and fresh garden produce all year long or so it seems to me, so I was not surprised a curious “TasteWine-r” might ask about this. The first step in the winemaking process. The short answer is yes! But there’s more to it.

They grow Kiwi fruit here and are very much concerned with the quality of the fruit, it has to be export quality. A Kiwi fruit orchard manager I spoke to lately, told me what he loved about his work was the creativity. As an “Arts” person I was stopped in my tracks a bit. I don’t love Kiwi fruit so maybe I had missed something. He then went on to talk me through the year, “we are picking at the moment; huge job requiring a great deal of monitoring and attention”, but then its pruning and he felt a real sense of satisfaction tidying up the vines after the dormant phase.

People who grow grapes and make wine are the same. They pay careful attention to the whole process. Especially really tasty wines. It matters where the grapes are grown. The flavours from the “terroir” are often stated in tasting notes. The best grapes are in the best spots and given the most attention, often even handpicked and reserved for special winemaking practises also. Wine like Chardonnay is “winemakers” wine. It’s flavour can be heavily influenced in the making phase. So makers want to start with the best.

In summary, you’ll note your favourite wine may have other labels with “Reserve” on it. Try one. It may not taste the same as you are used to but check out the balance, length and complexity. More to come on that!