Grape picker, vine-grower, winemaker
Working the vines is a vocation. The relationship which develops over time between person, plant and nature is practically fusional and takes up every waking hour. People work at the vines and on the land in order to enhance the product. Workers will tell you that it is like looking after a child or supporting a beautiful woman. However, as humble individuals they will not tell you that it is their dedication which gives the wine its unique character.
Cellar master, cellar worker
It is in the winery and cellars that wine’s poetry is at its most mystical. Sorcerer’s apprentice, alchemist, the cellar master is a little of both. He goes to great lengths to ensure that the grapes transform into a wine which is the best possible representation of its land, its climate and the people who produce it.
Winegrowers’ cooperatives (or “caves coopératives”) are every bit as exciting as the caves of Ali Baba and his forty thieves. After every harvest, the spoils of a year of effort by the wine producers are combined within these cooperatives. The grapes are gathered and blended, with each playing its part. As the saying goes: “alone we go faster, together we go further”. Cooperation between winegrowers thus boosts their strength and performance.
A real expert in vines and wines, an oenologist is a vital resource for wine producers. He provides diligent, precise guidance to enable the wine producer to get the very best from his plants and his wine.
A sommelier is a veritable living encyclopaedia of wine. Whenever we need advice in choosing a wine, whether at a wine merchant or in a restaurant, he offers assistance to improve our appreciation of the tasting experience.
Relatively unknown to the general public, brokers serve as intermediaries between wine producers and wine merchants: because they know their wine region and its different characteristics very well, they are able to match up a winegrower with a merchant or importer. The importance of these intermediaries is so well-recognised in Bordeaux that three-quarters of all transactions are conducted by brokers.