This post is an ode to all winemakers, but inspired by my father, Mike Kreft, who recently passed away. I am so incredibly lucky to have had such a role model, friend and close confidante in my life, and we spoke almost daily about all things under the sun, but especially wine.
The journey that he and my mom undertook to setup a small wine farm in Elgin, called Belfield, inspired me to get into the wine game. My father and I always had this hilarious banter, based on mutual respect for each others skill set. He was a farmer, a man of the earth, through and through. Visiting Belfield and looking at his vineyards, their perfect balance, and the care and attention to detail that were lavished on them, were a testimony to this. He grew his wines in the vineyard, and then gently took them through the winemaking process.
His skill set was making the stuff. Mine was not! I was teased by him often for rocking up during punch down season, getting a couple of pics in, pressing down a few caps, and "making wine". My skill set, questionably at that, is selling the stuff!
Since he passed, I have spent Wednesdays at the farm, and have dived into the vineyard, the cellar, and the inner workings of what it takes to care for vines and make wine. My father taught me a passion for the land, and I am obsessed with terroir driven wines, I just didn't fully appreciate the intense level of work that goes into making a good, let alone great, wine!
From berry to bottle, he painstakingly crafted his beautiful wines, and we are so proud at Under the Influence to work with likeminded winemakers. I dedicate this little post to all of you, and to my father, and the passionate application of time and care you put into your work. I will never be a winemaker, and I am working hard on being able to sell this beautiful product, and indeed help our customers and partners do the same! That is the crazy thing, after all the work in the vineyard and cellar, these winemakers get onto planes and pound the streets to hand sell their beautiful wines.
Kudos to you. We walk with you! Pounding the streets, and landing in the remote airstrips of Africa. We walk with you.
The journey in wine my father took every harvest....