3 Things Industry Professionals Want Peers to Focus On

One of our favorite questions to ask owners, winemakers and general managers is what business strategy they’d like to see wineries focus on to help improve their industry as a whole.

Their opinions can sometimes give us a sense of what may be next in the world of wine under this generation’s industry leaders.

Recent experts who have answered that question for Modern Winemaker include Christian Gastón Palmaz, the President and CEO of Palmaz Vineyards; Echolands Winery General Manager and Winemaker Brian Rudin and Michael Baldacci, the President and Winemaker for Baldacci Family Vineyards.

Christian Gastón Palmaz: Staying Away from Additives

“As one of the oldest manmade food products, wine is one of the most trusted products in consumer history. The food industry, by dabbling in additive innovation, lost a great deal of trust from the end consumer,” Palmaz said. “
“Now as a result, most foods have to advertise what they don’t contain instead of what they do. The wine industry for now has retained its consumer trust, but as additive innovations creep into our industry, I believe it’s important to look to terroir for improvements in the wines and focus our innovations on observative techniques instead of additive ones.”

Brian Rudin: Focusing on Younger Drinkers

“If we’re talking plainly, we need to make wine relevant to younger generations. I think a lot of people in their 20s and 30s can think of wine as out of reach for them, but it shouldn’t be like that,” Rudin said. “We’ve screwed up if people think of certain wine styles as boring as their grandfather’s Buick. I don’t worry about trends like canned cocktails or hard seltzers, because at the end of day, the fruit of the vine is so naturally delicious and pure that we can have confidence in wine, but: we need to stay inventive, creative, and push ourselves to make wine fun and accessible. 

“That means we should fearlessly break rules and think freshly about what kinds of wines we make. This is the New World; we aren’t beholden to rules on what we can grow, blend, or produce. Let’s have some fun with that.”

Michael Baldacci: Educating Enthusiasts on the Importance of Estate

“We need to teach new wine enthusiasts the importance of working with estate vineyards and share how having daily oversight and interaction with the process from grape to glass ensures a more holistic wine, one that is crafted with intention and passion,” Baldacci said. “Growing estate grapes ensures that our grapes are growing in the very best environment possible, and we work daily to farm the land in a way that gives back to and sustains the vineyards.

“It can often be overlooked, but I think the more we talk about wineries who grow, craft, and bottle their wines all at their estate, the more people will be seeking these family-owned and operated brands.”

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