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creativity column

Passion you can taste.

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The Lehigh Valley is indeed known for its ability to produce award-winning products. One of those products our area has received notable accolades for over the years is wine. Winemaking is a process that relies on both science and art. You can spend decades learning everything there is to know about the craft, but if you leave out the art, you risk mediocrity. 

 Jim Hutchings, a wine advisor who works in the tasting room and gives tours of the vineyards at Vynecrest, one of the oldest vineyards in the area, agrees. “Much like a musician must know the technical aspects, as well as the emotional, wine, needs a solid understanding of both. Wine can be technically perfect, but without emotion, it will be flat. Likewise, a wine that has passion can also be flawed yet still enjoyable.” 

Jim spends his days as a Client Engagement Manager at Trifecta working on helping enterprise level customers with their technology, but he loves being around the process of making wine because it allows him to embrace his creative side. “Working with technology all day almost requires a hobby that permits the exploration of passion. Wine lets me embrace my creative side.” Hutchings added. 

Then there’s Austrian-born pianist Artur Schnabel, one of the world’s most intellectually intense musicians who said this about his playing, “The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But, the pauses between the notes – ah, that is where the art resides.” Anyone looking to take their skills to a new level needs to know how to work their pauses. You could be making furniture, writing a song, creating a marketing campaign, acting in a play, working in the culinary arts, and you should know where your ‘art resides’ if you a desire to create something that’s worthy of people’s respect and admiration. 

In 2008, the Lehigh Valley received designation an American Viticultural Area, which means we’re a recognized wine producing region. For Jim, he’s on a constant quest to find the pauses between the notes. “I love how wine evolves. I love how the same wine can be uniquely different each time you try it and how the same grapes from the same vineyard can produce an entirely different wine if handled differently or compared from season to season. I love its breadth across regions, grapes, and vintages and the depth that a single wine may possess, evolving on the palate and lingering with us well after that final swallow.” Hutchings said.

With eight vineyards, currently operating and producing a variety of great wine right here in the Lehigh Valley, you have plenty of opportunities to find and taste the one that fits you. Hutchings offers this advice to anyone looking to fine tune their palette. “Work on fine tuning your sense of smell. Make a concerted effort to smell the shavings when you sharpen a pencil, smell the wet sidewalk after a summer thunderstorm. Smell the fresh cut grass or a pepper from the garden. Smell the forest floor when you go on a hike through the woods. Take note of the individual components and then marvel when you can dissect a wine and experience many of the same scents and tastes.” Hutchings added. 

Wine is a product that’s made with love, passion, and science. Love is not only something you experience, it’s also something you can taste. 

William ChildsComment