My focus is on producing wines with locally grown vinifera grapes. The
few wineries in Massachusetts who grow their own grapes have already
proven that it’s possible to make great white wines here. Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Vidal Blanc
are some of the varietals that can consistently produce wines of great
quality in Southeastern Massachusetts. As for red wines, it is
certainly more difficult due to a shorter growing season than required
for most red grapes to achieve the desired degree of ripeness.
However, in certain years it is indeed possible to produce red
wines with grapes such as Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir.
Some vineyards continue to trial different varieties, clones and
growing techniques that may result in more consistent red wine quality.
At the presnet, my wines are made with grapes grown by Running
Brook Vineyards in Dartmouth and Westport Rivers in Westport, both in
Wineries in the United States are allowed to blend 15% of grapes/wine
from other regions with their local product without ever disclosing it
to the public. This is a practice that I personally oppose. For me wine
is very much a regional product. Any percentage of grapes or wine
that is not from a locally grown vineyard can dramatically impact the
taste of a wine and remove its true regional character. No grapes from
foreign origins are blended with our local fruit for the production of
our Massachusetts labeled wines. Not a single berry. I’m not against
producing wines with grapes from regions other than local and in fact I
may experiment myself with some interesting varietals and blends. What
I’m against is the blending of grapes grown in different regions, especially while not clearly disclosing this to the public.
My goal is not to make wines that attempt to mimic any other wine
growing region in the world. I simply want to make wines which are
honest, distinctive, and characteristic of our region. That basically
summarizes my philosophy, but if you are interested, please read on….
In the winery I have a minimalist approach to winemaking… but every
winemaker in the world will tell you this. The reality is that good
wines can only be made from good grapes – a cliché indeed, but it’s so
true. In good years, the grapes can be of such good quality that a
winemaker becomes more of a monitor or facilitator. But in certain
years a winemaker is required a more manipulative approach in order to
adjust certain parameters in a wine. But how far should a winemaker go
with its “cooking” hand in the winery?
There are many additives that can be added to the wine in order to
improve its aroma, bouquet, color and taste. From fining agents to
tannin extracts, winemakers have a multitude of possibilities at hand.
However, some of these additives can completely alter the authenticity
and “tipicity” of a wine. Though some say that when used properly these
additives are tools to improve the quality of a wine, my experience is
that in most cases, the end result is a wine that is not true to its
origin or growing season (what we often refer to as “vintage”). Each
winemaker has to draw the line somewhere between letting the wine
reflect the vineyard, reflect the winemaker/winery, or even bend to the
pressure of a market built on standardized and preconceived tastes.
Here is where I draw my line at this point in my life as a winemaker:
Use only if/when necessary: Isolated yeast, Inactivated yeast, Fining
with bentonite, filtration, potassium metabisulfite.
Do not use: Concentrate addition, Ameloriation, enological tannins.
If you have a question in regards to my winemaking, please don’t hesitate to reach me. I always love to “geek out” about things of this nature.