I always like the French winemaking vocabulary because it seems to blend the activities of vineyard and winery. For example, the word Vendage means “harvest”, which seems straightforward enough, except that in America, we tend to use that term when talking about picking the vineyard, whereas in the winery we call it “crush.” There are also, in France, not really winemakers, but rather vignerons, whose name, by its nature, assumes that the one who makes the wine must also be responsible for vine tending. This is more than a matter of semantics. It goes right to the heart of how one conceives of their role in the process. In other words, does one “make the wine” or, rather, are they a “tender of vines” who follows the fruit through to the end?
At Quady North, we began with the concept of singling out and showcasing the attributes of various single vineyards in Southern Oregon. As we have grown, we have, in most cases, expanded our role in those vineyards, taking over their management and making the key decisions throughout the year. It is I, as well as Brian Gruber, who personally visits the vineyards, walks the rows, takes the samples, and makes observations which help to understand the entire process. We are then able to translate our observations directly into action, communicating with our team of committed vineyard workers.
In 2016, we saw those efforts pay off in several ways. One of the wines that I’m most proud of from the recent vintage is the Grenache. The 2016 Grenache, which will find its way both into the GSM and the “Bomba” is our best effort yet. Creamy, yet fruit driven, it is both ripe yet not excessively alcoholic. Our Serenade and Eevee’s vineyards were tended and harvested in a way to complement our Quail Run lot. Quail Run, which always has such concentration and dark fruit, yet also only seems to ripen at high sugar, needed temperance. We farmed Eevee’s and Serenade to meet that need, adjusting our farming practices to delay ripening as much as possible. Having done all the work in the vineyard, we were able to co-ferment those lots, allowing the chemistry to naturally balance without further manipulation. The result is something that is far better than anything we could have “made” in the winery.
I hope that our sincere intent to remain true to the process shines through in every bottle of Quady wine. Thank you for including our efforts in your celebrations, excursions, and weekday meals.