Name: Sébastien Jacquey
Currently: Head Winemaker at Megalomaniac
Please, tell us about how you got into wine, the wine industry and how your career developed?
I got into winemaking after a biology degree in food industry. The wine business was for me an opportunity to showcase a product that would reflect an image of terroir and a sense of place. The interest of being involved on three different aspects which are the viticulture, the winemaking and the commercialisation of it, was unique to this industry and really noble in some aspects. My career evolved from being an interns in different estate throughout France and assistant winemaker and assistant vineyard manager for Le Clos Jordanne from 2007 to 2010, and finally being promoted winemaker for the same estate in 2010 until now.
What is your philosophy to making wine and viticulture?
My philosophy is based on being a steward of the land to showcase as much as possible a sense of place into the wine I’m making. As such, I’m trying to apply sustainable practices in our vineyard in order to allow our grapes to ripe under best conditions and to be the best representation of the taste of our climate and our terroir. A deep understanding coupled with a strong observation of our vineyard for each vintage is essential to manage properly our vineyard practices in order to maintain a great natural balance within our vineyards. In term of winemaking, first, I’m trying to pick at the optimum balance between sugar, acidity and phenolic ripeness. Then, I’m trying to be as gentle as possible on the way I’m processing the grapes in order to preserve the integrity and the uniqueness of our flavour. Finally, on my way of managing fermentation, extraction and ageing, I’m trying to achieve a balance that will be representative of our terroir without too much oak, extraction or alcohol.
Which cultivar is your favourite to work with and why?
My favourite grape varieties are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. First, because I’ve been educated strongly on the various aspect of these when I was doing my wine university in Burgundy. Then, because, I love how these varieties could express more than any others a sense of place. Despite being so delicate, Pinot Noir with its thin skin and its wide aromatic palette, is such a great variety to express the characteristic of its growing environnement. Chardonnay, on the other hand, could look easy to grow but has as well the capacity to express a sense of place more than any other aromatic varieties. The finesse and power of wine from Chardonnay has the ability to age and evolve for many years and still give us complexity and elegance.
How do you see the future of wine production and what are the challenges and the opportunities?
I see the future of the wine production with an optimistic accent. I found that the overall quality of wine around the world and in Niagara is evolving the right way. More and more around the world, we are seeing region that are defending their uniqueness and their savoir faire by setting up appellation and rules of production. I think from a customer’s point of view, we are facing much more variety of wine from unknown terroir. The challenges will be to stay away of trying to copy European wine and to standardize the taste of wine and focus more on specificities that make wines different. The differences and the variation of taste between wines is what is creating excitement into the approach of a wine. Opportunities will be around seeing new wine region coming up, and also seeing less common grape varieties (French one) for more unknown variety (over 3000 available) in order to fit better the new climate and for more diversity to satisfy our palate.
Where do you see the global wine market in 2025?
I would see the global wine market in 2025 less dominated by the European with more new wine region in the market. I see the viticulture and the winemaking will get more focus on sustainable and organic practices in order to be true to our customers in term of taste and also to be more respectful of our environnement. I see the demand increasing with better and more educated customers with higher expectation in term of quality.
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – International Sommelier Positions – www.sommelier-jobs.com