Drink me

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - THE CUT - Hamish An­der­son

The re­la­tion­ship be­tween grape grower and wine pro­ducer is a com­plex and vi­tal one. In some cases, grower and pro­ducer are one and the same: as in the fa­mous châteaux of Bordeaux. How­ever, in more cases than we prob­a­bly re­alise, the two are sep­a­rated, with pro­duc­ers buy­ing grapes from grow­ers. Cham­pagne is the clas­sic ex­am­ple: the fa­mous brands own lit­tle land in re­la­tion to their to­tal pro­duc­tion.

This is com­mon prac­tice in the New World. I re­cently caught up with a friend and Mas­ter of Wine, Giles Cooke, who makes won­der­ful wine in Aus­tralia from bought-in grapes. The 2017 sea­son has been tough and he was de­cid­ing whether to take caber­net sau­vi­gnon from a grower. Qual­ity pa­ram­e­ters had not been met, so he was un­der no obli­ga­tion. Yet he was still go­ing to: he needed to make wine but also sup­port the grower.

2017 looks to be a tor­rid year for both par­ties in Europe as late spring frosts have dec­i­mated crops in many re­gions. Pro­duc­tion, and in­come, will be down for grape grow­ers, while the pro­duc­ers will be pay­ing higher prices. Be­low are three ex­am­ples where grower and pro­ducer work to­gether to do great things.

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