Ever wanted to know more about the winemaker behind your wine? We had the great pleasure of interviewing our Winemaker from Domaine de Colonat, Thomas Collonge and we featured it in our 3D Uncorked! magazine. Thomas and his father Bernard make Morgon La Roche Briday and Moulin-à-Vent for our 3D Partners. Domaine de Colonat have been making exclusive Cru Beaujolais wines for us for nearly two decades!
It is amazing to learn our winemaker’s stories, I personally think it’s one of the best parts of working with boutique vineyards. Even after a short time of being part of the 3D Wines community I have already found such rare and unique opportunities to explore the wonderful world of wine. Where else can you interview a young winemaker and hear first hand about their way of life and their thoughts on the wine industry? Read for yourself about the world of a modern-day winemaker with a real story to tell…
1. How did you get involved in making wine?
I was born into a family of winemakers. My parents, my grandparents, my great-grandparents … have all been winemakers. I am the 7th generation. Being a vigneron is more than a job. It is often the whole family who put time into working in the vineyards, vinification, labeling bottles. And this from a very young age. When you’re small, you’re proud to be able to help. As my studies gradually specialized in wine, my enjoyment of this job turned into a passion.
2.What do you most like about your job?
I like to work in the open air, I like the variety of work, being a farmer, a winemaker, a businessman … the level of time management is not always obvious but in a small family structure like ours we must manage everything. I love the values that wine represents. It is the symbol of a long history that has passed through the centuries. It is a product that is part of our culture and our heritage. And above all it is the very symbol of conviviality and sharing at the table.
3. What do you least like about your job?
There is one thing that is particularly complicated in our work; and that is to depend entirely on climatic conditions. We work with Nature, and the result of our work can sometimes be reduced to nothing in a few minutes. Spring frosts and hail can destroy everything.
This is what happened on our domaine last year and again this year. Several hail storms have ravaged our vines. It is a huge financial loss but more than that, these are months of intense work reduced to nothing. These are very hard times for a winemaker.
4.What is the best wine you have made at the Domaine?
It is complicated to answer this question because every year I have the same work, the same passion throughout the year. The pruning, the leafwork?, the trellising, the harvest, the vinification …
But in the end, the great vintages, the best wines, is not really due to us the winemakers, but thanks to the exceptional climatic conditions that allowed the vines to give their best.
Exceptional years or less good years, there is always as much sweat or passion in each of our bottles. So it’s complicated for me to have a preference. I’m not the most objective judge at all.
5.Do you have a favourite wine, outside of the Beaujolais region?
I love the Bandol appellation. But you have to be very patient with these wines.
6.What is new at the estate?
A new cuvée of MORGON is in progress. It is still early to talk about it, but currently for vintage 2017, part of this cuvée is being aged in oak barrels and another part of this same cuvée is in terracotta Amphora. It will be very interesting to compare these two wines in a few months.
7.What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the wine industry right now?
I do not know if this is the case everywhere but currently in France, on social networks, there is a real confrontation between those who are for and those against Natural wines. There is some real information, shrouded in the midst of a lot of false information and insults. Cellarmen, bloggers, winegrowers, critics, exchange harsh words about how to make wine. As often in these cases, the most extreme are the most read and shared. I do not want to comment on the social networks that are for me more a source of disinformation than information. But I think they illustrate a current change in the world of wine.
Modern winemaking goes further and further into technology and in the modification of wine. The consumer is realising this and wants to know what is in his bottle, and is moving more towards “artisanal” wines.
Today due to modern winemaking one is able to make pleasant wines, all over the world. The search for good terroir does not matter anymore, the quality of the grape is secondary since it is able to modify the wine by bringing roundness and aromas by chips, adding tannins for more structure, add or remove acidity, extract alcohol if there is too much … Using the same processes, the wines become the same everywhere in the world.
I think that the consumer will want to know more and more what’s in the bottle, they will research and gravitate more towards more artisanal wines. That is to say, where only grapes are used and where no attempt is made to transform wine by modern oenology. We will then return to the basics of viticulture by trying to produce the best grapes possible, on the best terroirs. Where the vintage effect is not erased but on the contrary brings each year a different new surprise.
Without modern oenology, the great terroirs regain all their beauty, producing great wines without artifice.
posted by Emmy from 3D Wines