Authentic wines do not fit a specific mold. On the contrary: they embrace diversity in viticulture, winemaking and finished product. However, every authentic wine has at its heart a strong sense of place originating from respectful production. Authentic wines are not wines made to please journalists or win trophies. They are balanced and subtle wines designed for thoughtful appreciation rather than instant gratification on tasting. The practices to achieve it are practical and varied, depending as they must on the particularities of the individual vineyard and winery, as well as the style and market segment of each wine. In this way, the concept of authenticity in wine is inclusive and progressive. For example, in order to optimize a wine’s sense of place, a winery may need to look at fruit ripeness in the context of its picking programme, or small adjustments to the level of intervention at the winemaking stage.
Careful modification in either of these areas can be the difference between producing an ordinary wine and one that shows an abundance of site personality. Below is a list of criteria that Peninsula work to in an effort to make more authentic wine: – Vineyards have balanced yields. i.e. are not over-cropped. -Fruit is picked early enough to retain freshness and definition. – Alcohol levels are in harmony with the rest of the wine. – Strong expression of site character (a sense of place) with purity and transparency. – Free of faults and stable at bottling. – Made using Sympathetic Winemaking practices.
Elements that make a wine authentic
Sympathetic Winemaking – the path to a Sense of Place. Sympathetic winemaking enhances a wine’s sense of place. As such it is the cornerstone of any authentic winemaking programme. Sympathetic winemaking is where intuition and methodology meet. At this intersection there is an appreciation of and respect for nature, but also an acknowledgement of the essential role of science. In the winery, this means a balanced approach to intervention, somewhere between ¨natural¨ (sulphur free) and ¨technical¨ winemaking. Sympathetic winemaking acknowledges that without winemaker intervention wine would not exist, thus leaving a wine to its ‘own devices’ will never produce an authentic wine. Equally, too much intervention masks diversity and site personality. The degree of intervention required should always be tailored to the specifics of the site in order to achieve the desired sense of place in the final wine.