One of the most important things I have learned on my journey to becoming a winemaker was expressed to me by my patron, Patrick Bize, on the first day of my stage at Domaine Bize in 2009 — “when you see the vines, you see the wine”. Of all the places I have made wine in the last few years I have come to believe that this is most true in Burgundy where small changes in aspect, soil, vine age, vine health and how the vineyard looks, can create completely different wines; both in quality and character. Of course vinification style can mould and direct that character, but the essence of the wine is formed in the vineyard.

Over my three years in Savigny-lès-Beaune, my new home in Burgundy, I have seen this on a daily basis. Not only between different vineyards, but within the same vineyard. Due to the Napoleonic Code, where each child must get an equal share of an estate, you have many producers side-by-side — some with only one or two rows (In Clos de Vougeot, there are over 60 different producers). Thus you see so many vineyard practices – from biodynamic/organic, to industrial to benign neglect; from machine harvested and pruned vines to ones worked mains au travail by a single person.

It is this diversity in the vineyard, not only in what is traditionally referred to as terroir, which makes Burgundy so special and wonderous to me. When you see the vines, you see the wine indeed!

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