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JANUARY 2022/ CREATING HERITAGE


Mark Bradford, Next, Storm the Castle, 2018

 

HERITAGE

Heritagization:
the processes and dynamics of constituting something as a legacy, creating and recreating cultural and historical meanings and identities.
We create connections to the past as a way to give meaning to our place in time here on earth. We see this in historical markers, architectural monuments, preserving traditions and cultural practices. We also see this in various cultural and economic contexts with regards to wine. For example: the Republic of Georgia’s ancient practice of making wine in buried clay pots called qvevri is deemed an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. 
There are many aspects of wine and it's making that give people a connection to both a sense of historical significance as well as that of the cutting edge future. Drinking a bottle from a specific spot and vintage allows us to put a pin in a point in the history of the universe and take a taste.
Examining human history through wine makes sense because the grapevine and people are on relatively similar timelines: Humans tend to live between 70-90 years but can certainly pass 100 years; Grapevines can produce fruit well past 120 years of age, but their production volume begins to decrease after around 30 years. In the grand scheme of time, vines and people are similar. To illustrate the full scale of time let’s turn to geologic time. The oldest rocks that have been found on Earth are 3.8-billion years old.
In some ways, by creating heritage, we are trying to connect to a time beyond the daily moments given to us by a clock. We put a landmark sign on a beautiful vista because that landscape can show us an untouched view of nature that reveals a history greater than our own. Sometimes, a number is too big to fathom, like rocks. At what point does the number just become meaningless to our human understanding? Connecting to time through vines and wine is realistic and understandable.
Should we put a landmark on the stars? Have we already by simply naming them as constellations? We want to relate to something, to our surroundings. Through wine we relate to our own human history, and a history that is possibly within our own lifespan’s reach.
The definition of heritagization gives room for creating and recreating meanings and identities. While some may use heritage to anchor us towards a specific time in the past, one of agreed upon knowledge and meaning, others may use heritage to set us free from that same past understanding in order to reshape our conception of who we are and what we might yet become.
In the wines of this month's wine club we see the creation of heritage by how our winemakers promote their products. The Heitz Cellars Grignolino wants to connect you to the history of Napa Valley through its grapes that were growing when the winery was purchased in 1961. Daterra Viticultores promotes the fact that winemaker Laura Lorenzo is changing the history of their vines from an industrial farming past to a present shaped through natural and organic practices. This is the cutting edge of modern winemaking. Both producers are connecting their wine to a sense of time, not only as a way to provide some distinction to their product, but to also give the consumer a way into understanding the wine in the context of history.

Mark Bradford, How Much Do Your Stones Weigh Lady? , 2018

WINE 1

Daterra Viticultores, Gavela Da Vila Vino Blanco 2019
SPAIN, Galicia, Ribeira Sacra, Val do Bibei
Varietal: Palomino from 80-120 year old vines


Laura Lorenzo is one of a handful of new producers that have been creating outstanding wines in the region of Galicia, helping to bring recognition to this region in Spain. Her farming practices are organic with some biodynamic elements as well, and her work in the winery is very hands off with minimal to no sulfites added to her wines. The Gavela da Vila grapes were fermented in 1000L chestnut foudres with 15 days of skin maceration. The wine was then aged in the same vessel for 11 months. The finished wine was not fined or filtered and had a small addition of sulfur at bottling.

Palomino is also known as the Sherry grape, as it is used to make the famous fortified wines from Jerez in southern Spain. This grape variety is known for being relatively uninteresting and can produce rather flabby, non-distinct low acid white wines. The Gavela da Vila shows that, in the right hands and with the right care of the vines, all grapes have the potential to shine.

When she was 16 Laura decided to become a winemaker and enrolled at the local enology school.  After years of study and training around the world, Laura started Daterra Viticultores in 2014. She works throughout the Ribeira Sacra region in Galicia, embracing old vines that were damaged by industrial farming, restoring them to health through what she calls “agro-ecology with minimal impact”. She cultivates life in her soils to bring harmony and balance to the vineyard. In the winery she lets the wines speak for themselves, making no adjustments to the wine. While these practices may feel simple and natural, they are against the global standard practice.



 
Mark Bradford, Tomorrow is Another Day, 2016

 

WINE 2

Heitz Cellars, Grignolino 2016
USA, California, Napa Valley
Varietal: Grignolino from 80 year old vines


Heitz Cellars in Napa Valley takes pride in being one of the only producers in North America to make a single vineyard wine from the Grignolino variety. This grape comes from the Piedmont region in the north-west part of Italy. Records indicate that Grignolino was being planted there as far back as 1249 BCE. The name of the grape itself could refer to the word grignole, meaning ‘pips’ because the berries of Grignolino usually have more pips, or seeds, than many other varieties. This also gives the wine a bit more tannin than one might expect for such a pale colored red.

Joe Heitz and Alice Heitz purchased their land in Napa back in 1961 and the Grignolino vines were already planted. The winery became famous for its Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. However, they continue to persist in producing a limited amount of this fantastic medium bodied red wine each year. An odd grape to see in Napa, certainly. And an oddly beautiful wine it makes.


Mark Bradford, Deep Blue, 2018

 

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS

Just as much as we have used history to help us find our way through the vast ocean of time, we also try to predict the future in order to seek that same kind of control.  Possibility keeps us motivated to move forward and not stay safely stagnant in our present.  But too much unknown can be intimidating (for some) and so, methods of seeing what lies ahead have been a part of the human experience for over six millenia.  As Napoleon famously said, “Ability is of little account without opportunity.”

While easily dismissable as trickery, tarot cards, astrology, mediums, and superstition do all follow their own sort of science.  Since then, we have invented more recent tools like weather forecasting, and trained people like stock brokers make their lucrative livings by using technology and data to make very educated guesses on what will happen next.  There is not one sports game that starts without a prediction of who will be the victor.  Sometimes they are spot on.  When they are not, do we make allowances for the impossibility of knowing the future?  

There is a term in psychology called the “locus of control” which shows where someone places the control over events in their lives.  Do you determine your own destiny?  Or is there a higher power at play and you are just watching it unfold?  Studies have shown that those with an internal locus of control (believing they control their destiny) are higher achievers than those with an external locus of control (believing their destiny is determined by a higher power) because they feel more of a sense of responsibility for their actions.  However, it was also found that those with an external locus of control are often more successful because of the confidence they feel from their higher power.  

Whatever the method, the most fascinating part of the future, is that anything is possible.  Just hearing that phrase can be so liberating, relieving, and terrifying.  We might as well take the next step into the unknown with a glass of something special.

 

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Our aim is to give a glimpse into the many roles wine has played throughout history.  All subjects mentioned deserve more attention and research and we encourage you to keep exploring.  We are only here to pop the cork.

Many Thanks, Caravan Wine Shop

 

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