Still Waters Spotlight: The Winemaker, David BeressAugust 24, 2016
Harvest has been in swing for a little over a week now. Debuting his first year as an official winemaker for Still Waters, David Beress is ready for action. David hails from Foresthill California and moved down to SLO to attend college. After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in Wine and Viticulture in December 2015, David went to work the harvest in New Zealand. After six months, he made his way back to Paso Robles and his place besides Paul making wine! Read on for a little more info about our newest winemaker!
How did you become interested in wine?
My interest really started when I was given the opportunity to work for Still Waters. Through family friends (Kasey Helt our General Manager and I grew up in the same town) I started as an intern and over four years grew to consider wine my passion and what I want to do with my life.
What do you enjoy most about making wine?
I love watching the process of a wine change and grow through its life cycle. From when the fruit is on the vineyard to harvest to fermentation to bottling and everything in between…wine is a living thing that is constantly evolving into something wonderful. I love being able to alternate from being outside monitoring the grapes to inside the lab making the wine I had been cultivating. It is an incredible feeling once it all comes together into something good.
What is your favorite wine to make? Or varietal that you love?
That is not an easy question but I would probably say it’s pretty tough to beat a good Merlot, which just happens to do pretty darn well here at Still Waters.
What is your favorite wine-related memory from your trip to NZ? (Where did you go in NZ?)
I worked and lived in Cromwell, in the central Otago district in the south of New Zealand. It is very rural and very beautiful. One of my favorite parts of being in this incredible place was being able to work with and get to know people from all over the world. We shared our thoughts and views on wines and it was amazing being able to learn like that.
Can you talk about some of the things you learned while you were in New Zealand?
Besides learning how to understand their slang and accents I also had the chance to work with Pinot Noir, a varietal that flourishes there but I have yet to work with in the states.
What can you say about this year’s vintages?
Compared to the light fruit load of 2015, I think this harvest is looking decent, albeit an early one. The guys have done their part to get the vineyard looking great and healthy. You can only do so much, the rest is up to mother nature and screwing it up in the winery.
Do you think younger people can get into wine? It feels like wine has always been something our parents were into. Now that our generation is getting older, how well do you feel our industry is bringing in younger people?
I do think that younger generations can and are getting interested in wine. I think that as the wine industry grows and becomes more widespread it will become more popular and accessible to a larger audience. Both younger and older generations are able to get into wine tasting and are learning how to appreciate wine more.
Favorite time of the year in the vineyard?
The vineyard is a great place year around, but besides harvest I think one of my favorite times in the vineyard is during and after pruning. A nicely pruned vine is almost like a piece of art work, it’s a great thing.