Sophia Baltodano | Contributing Writer
In the fast-paced world of restaurants, selling wine isn’t just about popping a cork; it’s a dance between flavors, origins, and production methods.
Amanda Fraga, the Genuine Hospitality Group Director of Beverage and Social Media explained on Tuesday, Jan 3 in an online panel the history of vineyards and explores how wine gets from grapes to glasses, all while deciphering the different farming styles shaping the grape-to-glass experience.
Fraga speaks of her experience working in a restaurant, saying that “selling wine is an art form. It’s not just about offering a drink; it’s about crafting an experience that enhances the culinary adventure.”
In the mainstream, conventional farming rules the vineyard. It’s all about cramming those vines close together to squeeze out every grape.
Pesticides are the grapes’ guardian angels, fighting off bugs and rot. Machines swoop in to sort out the good stuff. Plus, a dash of chemicals like sulfur, color enhancers, acids, and sugars might be thrown into the wine mix for that perfect taste.
If conventional is the superhero, organic farming is the eco-warrior. No synthetic chemicals here – it’s all about natural, organic alternatives. The focus isn’t just on the wine; it’s on the well-being of the Earth, the animals, and the people behind the bottle.
Then, there’s biodynamic farming, a throwback to the 1830s where such a method was first developed and used to generate fertility through composting, integrating animals, cover cropping, and crop rotation.
Fermentation happens spontaneously, whether it’s in the air or the grape stems. “And sulfur, the deodorant of the wine world,” says Fraga. “is a key player here too, keeping away rot and ensuring the fruits remain healthy and untouched by harmful bacteria and insects.”
Grapes get plucked, often by hand, and then the meticulous sorting begins – no bugs, leaves, or imperfections allowed. White wine takes a shortcut, getting crushed and fermented. Red wine gets a bit more love, with the grape skins thrown into the mix, giving it that vibrant color and extra punch.
In the midst of all this, there’s the rise of natural wine. It’s like the rebel of the wine world, embracing minimal intervention. These wines are the real deal – unfiltered with no added sulfites. It’s all about letting the grapes and terroir do their thing, showcasing pure, unadulterated flavors. The industry term ‘terroir’ refers to the soil, topography, and climate in which wine is made.
As the wine world continues to evolve, from conventional to organic, biodynamic to natural, there are an unlimited number of choices for every palate.
With consumers becoming more conscious, the wine journey is about more than just what’s in the glass; it’s about the tales and traditions behind each bottle and what one can experience by tasting it.