Winemaking involves a series of activities generated by an idea of what the finished product will be like. That idea first appears in the winemaker’s imagination as the grapes are tasted in the vineyard at harvest. But as any winemaker will tell you, surprise is in the future and that original idea will have to be modified as the wine makes its way through the production process. Wine is a living thing with a “mind” of its own.
Like artists, winemakers spend much of their time manipulating stuff—crushing grapes, punching down must, racking juice, cleaning barrels, maintaining and repairing machines. It’s physical activity that forces changes to that imaginary “wine” shaping a product that is still a dream . And just like a work of art in process, as the wine unfolds it will suggest the meaning it will have to anyone receptive to its potential. It’s not the idea but the making that unlocks potential by making it available to be perceived for both the winemaker/artist and her audience. The work liberates the object from the creator making meanings that outstrip the original idea as if the meaning somehow makes itself as the creator constructs the work.
There is an excess of meaning here that seems to have no origin.
Mundane, mechanical labor creating something of extraordinary beauty—21st Century alchemy.