Definition - What does Flying Winemakers mean?
Flying Winemakers refers to winemakers and consultants who have clients and interests on several different continents. Flying winemakers who are consultants fly to estates and provide viticulture advice, winemaking tips, information on the latest winemaking technology and more. Those who are winemakers for other estates actually supervise the entire winemaking procedure. Flying winemakers aid in spreading new innovations and technologies faster across the wine world.
WineFrog explains Flying Winemakers
Correspondence and information sharing between the Old and New Wine Worlds is a centuries old tradition. With the advent of affordable airfare, winemakers have been able to travel to the regions directly to supervise viticulture and winemaking, rather than relying on "snail mail".
The concept of the flying winemaker started with Australian winemakers travelling to the Northern Hemisphere to intern, train and develop new products during the Australian winter. Their initial success improving Old World Wines led more winemakers from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres to venture outside their comfort zone.
Critics of flying winemakers claim that their involvement with so many different estates and products creates homogenous products - all of the wines follow the style of the winemaker rather than the style of the region. This effect has been dubbed the Globalization of Wine and is evident when a Flying Winemaker takes on a multitude of products and aims for a specific style of wine in all of his or her ventures. This issue is addressed when a flying winemaker takes on a limited number of estates and/or focuses on making wines unique to the region and variety, rather than to follow the style he or she knows best.
Australian winemakers where successful not just because of their focus on varietal characteristics, but also on their professional approach to winemaking. If one were to compare Australian winemaking to Old Word winemaking, it would be like comparing a big box store to the family-run store down the street. Australian winemaking is organized to promote varietal characteristics and products that cater to the market; Old world winemaking is focused on tradition, terroir and winemaking as an art.