With over fifteen years of wine tastings, experience in the restaurant industry and countless wine tours, I like to believe that I know a little bit about wine. Using my skills, I recently sat down and thought that I would tell you how to make a perfect wine in five steps so that you can do it yourself to cut out the middle man in the process when enjoying the final product with your friends and family. Ready? Here we go.
I’ve tried a lot of wine. Some has been good, and some have been lacking or left me wanting more. But each bottle and every glass has taught me something about the subject matter. Some people, like my beautiful husband, like to talk about social justice and change. Others art and style. Some, their family – and some still prefer the topic of travel. But for someone like me… I love to talk about wine.
I can easily start to geek out on the subject, so it only made sense after recently sitting down with Marcelo Papa (pictured above) – the head winemaker of Marques de Casa Concha and Chief Technical Director of Concha y Toro – that I share all our secrets combined. Who needs us in this all anyways, right? Here are the five things you need to know to make the wine yourself .
1 Have at least a few decades of experience
It shouldn’t be that hard. Go back in time, and grow up in a country that for decades before you wasn’t even acknowledged for their wine locally, let alone on the global scale. For many more years after graduating from degree in agricultural engineering from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, work to the top of your field and earn the distinguishing role of heading one of Chile’s most famous and most traditional brands. Piece of cake.
2 Travel the world in a continuous state of curiosity
Be always in search of wine knowledge, knowing that different wines grow very differently based on the climate and country’s soil they are planted in. Forever be in search of knowledge and innovation, knowing that no one and no wine is ever truly perfect. Be forever a student of your craft and in search of the best wines of your time, to inform the wines that will come after you. From Maipo to the Mountains, be always learning something new about Chile and why wine can be so elegantly grown there if treated with the respect that only comes with decades of experience and mistakes learned from. No problem. You got this.
3 Put your whole life into a bottle on a daily basis
From there, it’s all about holding a crucial balance between your predecessors in the wine world while changing the direction of wine making for the entirety of the company you now head. Your vision and direction quite literally could rock the wine world, and your life’s work will be bottled and sold globally. No pressure – you got this.
4 Be open to both praise & scrutiny on a global scale
Once bottled and shipped, the culmination of the above becomes open to the criticism of every person who drinks and engages with your livelihood. Critics will not understand you, and you are powerless to defend yourself. You will earn accolades globally, but you will also have perfect strangers taking to the internet to tell their respective circles of influence how they feel without any consideration for your feelings. NBD.
5 Know that even at the top of your career, you will need to work tirelessly every day
Lastly now that you’ve gotten through those first simple steps, accept that you will continue to work this hard for the rest of your life. Yes you will love what you do, but there will be no rest for your world and desire to learn and grow. It will be insatiable and your world will revolve around the wine you built your whole life around.
For those of you up for the challenge like Marcelo was, go for it. But for those of you who prefer the idea of letting visionaries take the lead on something that easy, you can of course join me in appreciation of the process. There is no reason why you couldn’t try making wine on a small-scale at home, even if it’s just for your own consumption. Once you have perfected the taste, you could use the Grogtag wine label template to create a label and then start giving it to friends and family as a gift. If you’re a wine lover like me then you would probably really enjoy the process!
Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon is available at your local LCBO here in Ontario for $22.95 and is one of the most elegant bottles of wine I have enjoyed this year. I can’t wait to continue to support those five simple steps by a man like Marcelo in my life. I hope that the next time you pick up a bottle for yourself, you remember that you could do it for yourself too if you really wanted to. ?
You could, or you could learn to appreciate those who do it for us with the elegance and ferocity of Marcelo Papa, who I will forever remember as one of the most inspiring men I was lucky enough to meet and chat about wine with.
On a final note as I head out to buy myself a bottle of Marques de Casa Concha to enjoy with Julio, I asked Marcelo if there was one thing people should know about Chilean wine, what would he say?
He told me about the diversity of Chile and the environmental impact of this expanse on the growing of grapes and wine production. From the Andes to the coast, his journey has and continues to explore the beautiful expressions of all parts of his country. And I can tell you, as a Canadian who has recently started to explore my own country more and more, that really hit home.
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Photos: Marques de Casa Concha, Daniel Reyes & All Social Media accounts listed above
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