Wine - Pinot Noir - Vivier
To Stéphane, the best winemaker is one that largely keeps his hands to himself, allowing the alchemy of nature to do what it does best. As he says, “Being a lazy winemaker is all about being patient, letting the place talk, and being gentle with the grapes. Making it simple.” He learned this laissez-faire method of winemaking while growing up in Meloisey, Burgundy, at the feet of an elderly neighbor whose family had been making wine for centuries.
After obtaining degrees in viticulture and enology from Université de Bourgogne in Dijon, he worked in Switzerland, Sonoma and New Zealand. There, he discovered the difference between Old World and New World winemaking. The vineyards were young, as were the winemakers, giving free reign for them to put their own stamp on the wines they crafted.
In Napa, Stéphane became the winemaker at HdV (Hyde de Villaine) in 2002, under the tutelage of a great Burgundian winemaker. In some senses, he had come full circle. In other ways, he was just getting started.