Élevage is a French term with no direct equivalent in English. It literally means "rearing" or "raising" but in the world of wine has another meaning. Jancis Robinson says it is:
"The series of cellar operations between fermentation and bottling, suggesting that the winemaker's role is rather like that of a loving parent who guides, disciplines, and civilizes the raw young wine that emerges from the fermentation vessel. The word élevage implies that all this effort is worth it..."
We think that wine is just like other agricultural products that come from the earth. We hold it to the same high standards that we hold our food - like organic farming and minimal preservatives. We think grape growing should be good for our health and be environmentally sustainable and our vigneron feel the same way. In keeping with these ideas the wines we work with are made with the least possible use of chemicals, additives and technological interventions.
There’s no ingredient list required for wine labels and yet there are over 80 synthetic chemical additives permitted in winemaking today. These additives along with many modern winemaking techniques can change the way wine tastes. We think manipulation in the winery can erase individuality and Terroir and that industrialized winemaking processes can yield wines that taste exactly the same regardless of the grape variety or region they come from. Some of these wines can taste the same every vintage with no mention that perhaps one year’s weather was different from the last. We believe that wine should taste different every year and that it should reflect the vineyard where the grapes were picked. We always ask ourselves what the wine has to say about the place it’s from, the grapes it’s made from and the people who made it. Its important to us that wines have something to say!
We like to work with small family-run wineries and understand the people behind the wine. The wines we focus on are farmed organically (with or without certification), are low in sulphites and the raw grape juice is fermented into wine with indigenous yeast as opposed to yeasts that have been cultured in a lab. The fruit for these wines is typically picked by hand and the finished wine goes into bottle unfined, unfiltered and unadjusted.
We love drinking wine and are romantic about the world of wine but we try not to be dogmatic. We like to work with winemakers who share the spirit of these ideas, who care about the earth and have a desire to make the most delicious wine they can in the most natural way possible for them.
The language we use to describe wine is important and the vigneron we work with are all extremely conscious of every decision they make in the vineyard and the cellar. We use the term “conscious wine” along with terms like “natural”, “real” and “honest” because we feel they encompass how our vigneron live. Many of our wines have nothing added at all and some have added sulfites. Our primary concern is that every bottle that we work with comes from a vineyard teeming with life and energy and is made by caring, passionate people. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
Jesse and Peter
Jesse was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba where he worked in hospitality for many years first working in kitchens, then serving, pouring wine and hosting pop-up and catering events across the city. In 2015 he founded Élevage Selections with his close friend Taylor Archibald after returning home from a mind blowing trip to France and Spain with a rucksack filled with natural wines. Upon return these bottles were consumed rapidly, blowing Taylor’s mind too. Soon after in an enlightened haze the two stumbled to city hall and founded their company, never looking back. Today Jesse lives in London, England working at Terroirs Wine Bar and travelling to both Winnipeg and Europe whenever he gets the chance.
Peter was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba and has been an unofficial member of the Élevage team since 2015 but only joined officially in the last year. He came over to the dark side of natural wine around the same time we did after travelling through Europe but was working as a superstar nightclub bartender at the time. After initial ambitions to be a landscape architect, he found his true passion in hospitality having worked in restaurants for many years. Today Peter is well regarded as one of the city’s top bartenders consulting on bar and wine programs across town. Aside from his passion for natural wine, Peter also feels very strongly about rap music. He lives in Winnipeg and works at Forth Bar where he will make you a fantastic cocktail while staring deeply into your eyes.
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