Why this winemaker plays classical music to his vines
I had the privilege of meeting winemaker Michal Mosny at the SOMM 3 premiere in Kelowna, hosted at Okanagan College in the fall of 2018.
Michal is the winemaker behind the label of Winemaker's Cut. Winemaker's Cut began by producing exclusively sauvignon blanc and syrah, eventually expanding into gruner veltliner and cabernet franc. The fruit is sourced from a vineyard between Oliver and Osoyoos on Deadman Lake. These vines are farmed organically and biodynamically. Michal's belief is to intervene as minimally as possible with his wines.
Michal has a certain energy, that could easily be confused with shyness or reservation. Despite being soft spoken, his passion is palpable. Mention nature or biodynamic farming, and his eyes light up.
His philosophy on winemaking is so much more than just producing a guzzle worthy end product. For him, it's about evoking, and eliciting an emotional response. It's about treating the entire process as an ecosystem - preserving and enhancing energy and spirit.
This beautiful ethos shines through in his wines; I naively asked if he knew of the winemaker in the Okanagan playing classical music to their vines. He gently smiled and said; that's me. As soon as we made that connection, I knew it was going to be a special conversation.
Michal grew up in Slovakia and immigrated to the Okanagan in 2012. After having seen a documentary on BC as a wine producing region, he was immediately intrigued and inspired enough to make the move.
How is the Okanagan different from Slovakia?
It was a big surprise when I first came here. We opened a vineyard management company first, as I feel it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the soil and terroir of the growing region you're producing wine in. This takes years. Some of the diseases that are typical in Europe that I was asking about; no one had ever heard of them. After some time, I came to the conclusion that it is very easy to grow grapes in the Okanagan. You can really control your vineyard, using organic growing techniques.
Why do you farm organically and biodynamically?
Being from Europe, no one talks about the style of winemaking they are doing. They just farm in the style that works for them. I don't like to use it or talk about it for marketing. There are no rules for "natural" winemaking, I'm a believer in utilizing education and technology, but it is a lot of work to make wine this way. If you go to a big grocery store, and buy an apple, it'll taste differently than one that comes from your own backyard. The same goes for wine. It's about creating balance and harmony between human and nature. Wine should give you energy, and fill you with joy. If you appreciate nature; it will give back to you 1000 fold.
Why sauvignon blanc and syrah?
My ancestors are from the Loire Valley/France, so it made sense for me to go in that direction. My sauvignon blanc is a mineral driven style, that is very reflective of the site and soil the vines grown in. Cabernet Franc also grows in the vineyard, so we plan to make a rose in the future. I love cabernet franc for rose, there is so much flavour.
Why do you play classical music to your vines?
I started doing this in Slovakia - I was always doing this with my wines. At the very least, I would play classical music in the cellar. I knew that exposing grapes and every single micro organism to positive emotions was important. I think only classical music can do this - this is the only type of music, where every single instrument is played by humans, which translates emotion. You don't get this from other genres of music. I also know of other producers in Europe who are doing this. It's not my own invention, and it's definitely been shown to work. With playing music to vineyards, the biggest thing is they grow faster and require less irrigation. In the cellar, the fermentations are smoother. When we don't play classical music, we notice the fermentations became erratic. It's a much smoother ferment, and the wines are much more elegant. They contain this kind of message, that however the wine was feeling whenever it was aging or fermenting comes through in the finished bottle.
Have you ever had wines that have evoked an emotional response?
Yes, when tasting our gruner veltliner. We released it on Mother's Day, to tie in with our respect of Mother Nature. It has aromas of white pepper and almonds and I'm really happy with the direction it's going.
You can find out more on Winemaker's Cut here: https://winemakerscut.ca/