Sunday, May 15, 2016

Again, Wine or Beer?

What is wine? You know the answer to that, but, let me ask you what is the "soul of wine?" It is: the grape vines, the farm, the region, and the people. It's the whole economy around the wine, the whole ecology around the farm, and the whole culture around the people producing wine. In short: It's the whole. The soul of fine-wine exists in a whole, or it does not exist at all.

That being said, in the way-more-than-cider established world of fine wine it's extremely frowned upon for producers to buy grapes, grape must, or finished wine from another region and then market it as "their wine." In the broader wine world there are plenty of exceptions, but in the fine wine world it's clear as day: that's just not done. It erases the location at the foundation of it all. Even in weather disasters, fine-wine producers don't go on to the global market for "their" grapes. It undermines the soul of wine.

Unlike wine, beer is produced in factories. (Or, 99.9% of it is. How many micro-brewers really grow their own ingredients? (And by really, I mean ALL of their ingredients, not just a few hops here and there.) Beer producers work with ingredients from the commodity market and they make magic from it. Yes, I love beer. But beer is nothing like wine. Let's be clear on that.

So what is cider? I'm pretty fanatical on this point: The soul of cider originates in the location where the apples come from, just like wine. The ownership of a cider belongs to the location of the trees. That being the case, and it is, it's ridiculous to say that a cider produced in a city is that city's cider. That's just brewer's talk. Likewise, I don't know how someone can purchase apples from afar and call it "their cider." The location of the apple source should never be hidden. It's reprehensible to do so.

But that's me. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe cider has climbed a new plateau where it can have a soul like wine and capitalize, like beer, on commodity purchasing for mass-production wherever and whenever it's economically advantageous to do so. Hurray for cider!