Home / #LiveMajorCrush / The Legacy of Winemaking by Lou Zant
The Legacy of Winemaking by Lou Zant

The Legacy of Winemaking by Lou Zant

For me, wine is always personal.

I love that I can have my own experience with any wine I’m drinking. But even more than that, I love knowing that there are real people behind the vintages that I tend to drink (and, of course, crush on) the most.

It used to be that winemaking was a family tradition that was passed down from generation to generation, but sadly, the art of making wine in the US is not as romantic or as straightforward as one might think. And sometimes, the love of making wine doesn’t translate from one generation to the next. Plus, as the world gets more virtual and technology influences the way the next generations consider their future, the slow and methodical traditions of artisan winemaking are not always a foregone conclusion for the son or daughter of a winemaker.

But for me, one of the things I admire most about the heart of the legacy winemakers that I’ve met is the authenticity and tenaciousness you find in their individual stories. It takes patience, experience, and a special kind of know-how to keep a family winery going, and you can almost always taste that kind of “blood, sweat, and tears” in the wines these small family producers make.

So I wanted to take a moment to highlight a very important resource for family owned, legacy wineries in my part of the world. It’s called the Family Winemakers of California. I like the way they put it when trying to sum up their importance as well as their purpose:

“Family Winemakers of California is an organization that reflects the small producer’s point of view.” www.familywinemakers.org

The wine industry in America is huge and very complicated, so keeping up with the rules and regulations governing the sale of wine can be quite onerous on the small production wineries. In fact, there are approximately 5,400 licensed wineries just in the state of California alone, and so clearly, someone needs to speak up for them when it comes to fighting for access to the free market and individual freedoms. And it’s this kind of advocacy that helps to ensure that the family winemaker can keep the focus on the wine, not just the business of wine.

I would like to encourage you to check out the Family Winemakers of California website so you can fully understand the challenges facing many of the artisan winemakers we represent in the content we create at Major Crush.

But now, let’s make all of this personal to you.

You might not realize this, but whenever we bring you a wine made by someone we know, you are automatically part of their legacy in this world. And as far as I’m concerned, that makes you every bit as important to the legacy winemaker as an organization focused on fighting for their rights to go to market. Meredith and I seek out wines that are like hidden gems in a box of shiny bobbles, and that is why wines like the collection of Volante red wines we’ve featured in past three Crush Collections have meant so much to us. They are truly valuable wines that will no longer be around once the last of the Volante library wines are gone… So drink them with people you love so they will live on in the memories you make!

I guess I’ll leave you with one of my favorite winemaker’s quotes:

Give a man a bottle of wine, he drinks for a day.
Teach a man to make wine, he’ll always have friends.


To me, that’s what will give any winemaker a true legacy — friends and people who love to share their wines! That is all any true artisan winemaker really dreams of!




Leave a comment