Thursday, March 31, 2011

What Makes a Wine Worth $50.00 (or More)?

In today's Blog, we're going to try and answer that age old question..."Why is any bottle of wine worth $50.00 or more"? Let's head into the Wine Cave and 'mull' (no pun intended) this one around.
Ok, I think that I can offer some answers, but I'll have to answer it in my own way.
Many years ago, we traveled the highways and byways of Florida looking for those pioneer grape growers. No, not those well known and modern wineries of today. We were looking for the unsung heros. Those people who actually grew their own grapes and handcrafted their own wines. After much searching, we finally found this illusive, but profoundly special group of..."wine masters". They were located off the main highways and mostly in the backwoods of Florida. They were never quoted by any wine publication, nor was their advise ever sought by any wine expert. They had lived their entire lives mostly under the scope of the wine world. They had lived their lives, grown their grapes (mostly muscadines) and made their fabulous wines with unlimited measures of love and passion. These were the 'True' wine masters!
There was one gentleman that has always stood out in my mind and has been our inspiration. When we met him, he was "87 years old". He had been growing his muscadine grapes on his land for his entire life...since he was 21 years old! His single goal was to create the finest wines that he could and to see just how long and how well that they would age. On his property, he had converted an old 'refrigerated reefer trailer' to store his wines. His 'refrigerated reefer trailer' was covered by a pole type barn. Nothing fancy, but it worked just fine. With him as our guide, we were priviliged to have been granted permission to enter this secret sanctum. There were wooden, handcrafted shelves around all the walls. On these wooden shelves were glass and ceramic containers of all shapes and types. There were "glass mason jars, ceramic cider jugs, glass mayonnaise jars, glass carboys and many other assorted glass containers (no oak barrels)! To an uninformed outsider, this would have seemed like utter chaos. To him, everything was perfect order. Each container had hand written notes attached. These notes told the story of his life! Included, was the date that the wine was created, type of muscadine grape and how it looked and tasted.
Have you ever been offered a glass of "50 year Florida Muscadine (Noble) Red Wine"? Well, we have and its..."To Die For"!! As expected, the color had lightened over the years, but the taste, flavor and bouquet was 'warm, mellow and superb'! We were unable to suppress our joy and amazement and happily told him so!
After we returned from our 'cloud 9', we asked him if he would share, with us, his secret for creating such fantastic wine. He agreed, and even included his secret ingredient.
We happily share his recipe, below:
#1 Use Only the Grapes that you personally Grow (this keeps you in tune with the vines & grapes)
#2 Pick Only the Ripest Grapes (by hand, of course)
#3 "NEVER" Filter your wine (you want to retain the 'taste, flavor & bouquet of the grape)
#4 Age your Wine(never less than a Year. It will get better with age)
#5 "NEVER" mix or Blend your Grapes(You want to create only a pure wine product)
#6 Use Only Glass to age your wine( glass doesn't add or subtract anything to/from your wine)
Lastly (the secret ingredient):
#7 A part of your self must be in every bottle of wine that you make!
So, now, that I've taken you on this round about journey, I think that I'm ready to answer that age old question..."Why is a Bottle of Wine Worth $50.00 or more"?
If you ever find a wine that is made the way that this 87 year old gentleman, from Florida, made his wine, you should feel free to pay...$50.00 a bottle. If you ever find a wine that is made the way that this 87 year old gentleman, from Florida, made his wine's 50 years him anything he's PRICELESS!!

'Salute and Happy Days' 

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