“Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.” That is the headline quote from the most famous of all manifestos, the Communist Manifesto (1848). Another equally famous one begins, “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” That is, of course, our own Declaration of Independence (1776). Did you know there are also wine manifestos?
Roberto Anselmi of Soave, Italy Manifesto
My favorite is Roberto Anselmi’s “Dear John” letter to the Soave Consorzio declaring that he is leaving them because they emphasize quantity over quality. “I can’t go on defending Soave on my own, by my sole physical and economical efforts. I’ve played Don Quixote for too long, and bumped against too many windmills.” And since the 2001 vintage his wines have been labeled simply Veneto IGT rather than Soave DOC. This was truly a radical move, since lesser designated IGT wines sell for less than DOC wines. Roberto’s commitment to quality, however, has allowed him to keep his prices the same. (Read Victor Hazan’s paean to Soave.)
Amselmi Manifesto, long version. Which includes pages of geeky winemaking talk.
Bonny Doon Vineyard of Santa Cruz, California Manifesto
Bonny Doon Vineyard of Santa Cruz, California, is the labor of love of Randall Grahm, its winemaker and President-for-Life. Randall has been a true revolutionary from the very beginning. He was one of the original Rhone Rangers that championed Rhone grapes (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) in California, a champion of all sorts of “orphan” grape varieties, and an early adopter of the screwtop. (See The Death of the Cork.) I first met him at a ground-breaking tasting in 1990, just as his rock-star-like fame was beginning to spread.
“No wine figure of authority, in fact no one in the wine trade had ever spoken like this. We all realized that we had just witnessed a revolutionary act. What could be more American than hotdogs, apple pie and Chardonnay? … he spoke with conviction about his rebellion against the mind- and palate-numbing domination of the wine world by Cabernet and Chardonnay, or as he termed it the ‘Cabo- and Chardocentric Paradigm’.”
Eric Texier Manifesto
“I became a vigneron in the almost forgotten vineyard of Brézème in the northern Rhone after a first career and without any family background in vines or wines. As such, my goals and methods developed not so much from my years of schooling, but from my readings, visiting sustainable farmers and traditional winemakers around the world.
My winemaking is very old school and very minimalist: direct pressing for the whites, native yeasts fermentation, mostly in concrete vats. No fining ever. For the reds: no destemming, then crushing in most of the cases. Ageing from 10 to 48 monthes mostly in big concrete vats and big foudres. No fining no filtration. No addition of nothing prior to bottling. SO2 can be added up to 30ppm for the reds and 40ppm for the whites then according to the terroir and the vintages. About 20% are bottled without SO2 addition, but no systematic posture.” –Eric Texier
Rogue Ales & Spirits Manifesto
“Dedicated to the rogue in all of us,” Rogue Brewery is located on the Rogue River in Newport, Oregon. Under the guidance of head brewer John Maier, Rouge produces many of the finest and most interesting beers in America. Their brews can be divided into three categories: European classics with an American flair, American originals, and wacky things that no one else makes. Their manifesto begins: “Rogue is a small revolution, which expresses itself through handcrafted Ales, Porters, Stouts, Lagers and Spirits, and this is the way we conduct our business. The spirit of the Rogue brand, even the name, suggests doing things differently, a desire and a willingness to change the status quo.”
Friday’s Downtown Wine Tasting will feature Wines with Manifestos. (5 – 7:30 pm)
Market Street Wineshop Manifesto
There are many great stories in wine. Wine is much more than just the taste, the label, and the price. It is the people who make it, the land from whence it comes, and the food with which it is served. We want to communicate this, these stories that make the wine interesting to us. Technical notes about the acid, the PH, and the oak treatment do not get at the soul of a wine. For that you need to understand it milieu, its terroir, its provenance. Join us in a journey to discover the soul of wine, along with the land, the people, and the culture from whence they sprang.
Cheers, Robert and the Staff
What do you think about our Manifesto? Let us know. firstname.lastname@example.org