and become an up-and-coming wine maker in under 5 years!
or can you?
David Clark did it!
Who is this guy who so boldly went where VERY FEW anglophones have gone before?
David Clark was born in the US to Scottish parents, schooled in Scotland, worked for Williams Formula One Grand Prix Team as a software engineer and then in charge of pit stop strategies. Wild enough as that all was, his passion for wine was too much for him to resist! David had been interested in wine since he was 18 and had participated in harvests in Napa Valley and Australia. So he packed up and spent 6 months in the south of France to learn enough french to attend a wine-making school here in Burgundy, in a city called Beaune (pronounced like “bone”). As luck would have it, in 2004 David came across 1.5 acres of vineyards in burgundy just around the time he graduated from wine-making school. With time, and through some well-made connections, David was able to increase his vineyard acreage to just under 5 acres. NOT a bad amount for new winemaker in Burgundy! Especially for an anglophone!
So here we are in 2009. David Clark is a one man show. He does EVERYTHING on his own. [Beginning nerdy phase] His concept is to treat his “average” plots of burgundy vines with as much care as the winemakers who own the “premium” burgundy vineyards: minimal plowing, no herbicides, ultra low yields (meaning he cuts some of the grape bunches off in mid-season to allow the remaining bunches to soak up all the goodness!), all vine work is done by hand, he uses an organic spray program to counter disease and pests, he harvests by hand into small cases (so as not to damage or bruise the grape bunches), no non-essential additives or manipulations, he ages the wine in small french oak barrels, he bottles by hand and uses no fining or filtration. It is au naturel baby!
In our visit to the facility David explained to us that he had not always made his wine this way. Before, he was using many of the techniques he picked up while in US and Australia. After his first or second vintage, he decided to switch to over to the organic/bio side of wine-making, essentially taking the grape-growing and wine-making back to its roots. So many extra sprays and additives are used in many of the conventional wines today, that the true taste of what the grape/wine has to offer is being masked. Wines made from greener practices, such as organic and bio-dynamic, are not only made in a more eco-friendly fashion, but also treat the vineyard and the environment around it as one organism. The vines are allowed to grow in a natural way thus allowing the characteristics and unique flavors of the grape to be expressed. Soooo long story short: organic, bio-dynamic and other sustainable practices produce AMAZING wines and go back to the true taste of the vine, they are more eco-friendly and …… they are another blog entry all on their own, as there is so much to say and it is a topic that really interests and excites me. [Ending nerdy phase]
That all being said, after a couple of years of working the kinks out and getting the vines to really “shine”, David Clark had no bottles to sell us when we went to visit….why? Cause he SOLD THEM ALL!! And the demand exceeds the supply he has! We were able to taste a personal bottle he has of the 2005 vintage and also the 2009 vintage that was still in the barrels!! All I need to say is “YUMM!” I was impressed, not only with David’s story and practices, but most of all from his humbleness and sincerity. It was refreshing to see someone who had a wine dream and made it a reality!! Very encouraging for me! Below are the ever-so-entertaining videos and photos from our program visit to this Domaine. Hope you enjoy!!!
Thanks for reading! Leave me a comment and tell your wine-drinking or wine-curious friends to join us!…..Until the next post!
Vinously Speaking & Vinously Yours
The Ceci Sipper