1995: A Teutannic Vintage
When Kai Schubert, a German enology student, was told that he would apprentice at a winery in the New World to augment his degree, he was looking for a “typical” small winery. He chose Cameron, much to our consternation. But as we could not talk him out of it, he arrived with boxes and crates, a portable PC, a fax machine and a modem and kind of moved in during the summer of 1995. “Moving in” at Cameron Winery basically means finding a comer of John Paul’s office and blending in with the rest of the clutter. Kai did this without problem and was soon creating a significant quantity of entropy on his own. This, however, was soon dwarfed by the mass of confusion which became known as the “1995 Vintage.” The first grapes to come rolling in were of the red type and visibly bored young Kai (if you’ve ever had a Spatburgunder, the German rendition of Pinot noir, you will readily understand his reaction). But the warm rains of late September changed everything; as the sound, beautiful fruit turned pink with infections of Botrytis, Kai came alive. This was something that he understood. Nothing that I said could convince him that perhaps the wines would suffer with all of this Botrytis associated with them, did I not know that this was “Noble Rot?” Trochenbeeren and Beerenauslase, surely these are terms that the world is only waiting to embrace. No Kai, not in Pinot blanc, not in Chardonnay and certainly not in Pinot noir. Perhaps in Riesling but we don’t even make a Riesling. You don’t make a Riesling? Auch tu lieber, you don’t make a Riesling? Nein, no Riesling. So, Kai set to work trying to make a Trochenbeeren Pinot blanc and a Trochenbeeren Chardonnay. Everything that we threw out from our sorting table became the property of Kai Schubert; the uglier the cluster, the more excited he got. All of those disgusting, shriveled, dried up grapes have been reduced to a five-gallon carboy happily fermenting along to an unknown destination. And what did young Kai learn from his experience here? The weather here is just like Germany but, other than that, it’s really not like Germany, except for the official from OSHA who paid a visit to the winery and maybe the official from the Department of Agriculture who also paid a visit to the winery (and, happily, no one from BATF showed up to be compared). The winery isn’t clean like in Germany (it’s more like one of those disgusting French places); the crew is almost always late to work and their efficiency goes to Hell after lunch when wine (or beer) is generally consumed to add perspective to the task. Actually, Kai rather readily adapted to the latter custom, and, over time carne to like being late to work and by the end of harvest his comer was probably the most disgusting part of the winery. So, we at Cameron Winery are convinced that the French had it all wrong fighting their numerous wars with Germany. It was merely a matter of inviting them into their cellars and making them see that a life of debauchery was far more pleasant than one of efficiency.
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On a sunlit day in September, the Cameron Winery Vinfolk gathered in our bucolic vineyard to share stories, break bread and explore the nuances of Pinot noir…There’s More... >
Did you know that you can give us money? And then we can do whatever we want with it? Man, is this a great country, or what?!There’s More... >
A Year in the Making is a Cameron Winery propaganda film that condenses 12 months in the Clos Electrique vineyard into 12 minutes. Produced by Jeremy Fenske and Elaine Skinner, it stars the grand crew and farm animals of vintage 2012.There’s More... >