The Vines was born out of a project in Mendoza, co-founded by Michael Evans and Pablo Gimenez Riili. Interested parties could buy parcels of vineyard land and work side by side with winemaker Santiago Achával. The collective, cooperative group has grown to 308 members and following on from its success, in early 2020, Evans established The Vines – an ‘explorers’ club’ with a focus on global travel.
The Vines has 76 members who travel the wine world and collaborate with winemakers to create their own wines, some of which are even labelled and bottled for sale by individual members. Wines are released when they’ve completed the appropriate barrel and bottle ageing terms.
This approach to wine tourism allows members to craft wines with industry giants from around the world, working side by side with winemakers such as the Mosel Valley’s Ernst Loosen and Montalcino’s Roberto Cipresso to blend unique wines of their own. The Vines also offers winemaking excursions to regions like the Willamette Valley, Napa, Paso, Champagne and Priorat.
Regional culture and terroir
Marie Cecilie von Ahm is the director of site selection and head of wine education for The Vines. She identifies regions where members want to make their own wines and facilitate winemaking partnerships, such as with Champagne’s Drappier, where The Vines members can produce their own personal cuvées.
‘We believe wines are comprehensive products of very special and unique places, so we spend time orienting guests to the region before they arrive. They are sent specific wines to taste,’ said von Ahm.
‘Once they’re on location, we spend a few days tasting the different terroirs of the region, learning about the history and culture and speaking with and learning from different winemakers. Only after that will they work with our partner wineries to make wines of their own from the region we’re visiting,’ she continued.
‘It is important that our guests from The Vines come to the Mosel to experience the region in person,’ said Ernst Loosen. ‘It is the only way for them to get a true understanding of the unique soils, culture and climate that we have.
‘By walking in our extremely steep, slate vineyards, they certainly gain an appreciation for the great effort that goes into wine growing here,’ Loosen continued. ‘It is that understanding of the region that guides them as they develop their own individual blends in the cellar. In the evenings, we always drink some older bottles – a very enlightening experience where they can taste for themselves the immense pleasure of matured Mosel Rieslings.’
Making wines with the experts
Approaching wine as a winemaker takes a different perspective, one that consumers are not always used to. ‘Especially in Champagne, “projecting” the future of the wine is the most important part of the winemaker’s job,’ said Charline Drappier, eighth-generation member of the Champagne house.
‘The wine is typically released a minimum of three years after we decide on the blending. Therefore, we make a point of having them taste the final product and work backwards. To help them understand what differentiates the final Champagne from the “vins clairs” they are using to blend.’
‘Often, the best vin clair is not the most pleasing one from the selection, so we help them rethink their habits when it comes to tasting: considering acidity levels, inner complexity, etc. Because it challenges everyone’s beliefs, it makes the experience even more eye-opening and unique,’ she added.
‘It’s important for them to taste and understand the characteristics and personality of each component of a wine. Particularly in the case of the Super Tuscans’ said Roberto Cipresso of making wine in Montalcino. ‘We work with three key tools: Merlot,
Source : https://www.decanter.com/learn/flying-winemaker-club-offers-an-exclusive-take-on-wine-tourism-512250/