The false modesty of winemakers is the probable reason for a common misapprehension about wine production that runs like this: wines from vineyards that are properly sited and well managed “make themselves”.

I have attended countless presentations where the cellarmaster shrugs his/her shoulders disarmingly and explains that winemaking is a kind of midwife role. By the time the grapes get to the cellar it’s simply about transforming the fruit into the wine that had been waiting in the wings (my apologies for introducing a second metaphor: this has been done to avoid anything more awkward resulting from my sticking to the original one)...

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