Oenology is the science dedicated to the study of wine. Comprehensive and in-depth knowledge, ranging from production to conservation which requires both science and sensitivity, mathematics, physics and chemistry and where climatology or microbiology are matters to be mastered. The winemaker is, therefore, someone who accompanies all phases of a wine’s life, and is responsible for it. This responsibility begins with the choice of soil and evaluating the characteristics of the terroir, and only ends when the wine, once produced, bottled and aged, is sold. It involves choosing the most suitable grape varieties, the entire planting process, the harvesting method and deciding the right time to do it, the transformation of the grape into wine, decisions on which winemaking procedures and techniques to use to obtain a certain result and flavour, the aging method, bottling, the best time to put the wine on the market and even, often, the sale of the final product. In short, like any other science, oenology is complex; the winemaker is the greatest connoisseur of wine and the one who has the greatest influence over it, alongside Nature, because, in fact, the wine owes its paternity to both. The winemaker is the expert who, based on an equation comprised of land, grape and climate, manages to design a wine, creating it from scratch and coordinating its entire production, imagining and guessing its taste on the palate.
If you believe in magic, a winemaker is a magician.
The Escanção is an expert. A true connoisseur of the wine world, the wine cellar of a restaurant or bar depends on him, as well as specialist stores dedicated to wine and other drinks. The storage, conditioning and temperature of the wine, as well as the management of the winery are also his or her responsibility. A sommelier’s area of expertise depends on constant study and updating, in order to keep abreast of what is happening in terms of production and consumption trends; this also encompasses the culinary world, insofar as it is the responsibility of the sommelier to prepare the drinks menu and the best food matching suggestions. This task that is not of minor importance. Choosing the right wine for a particular dish is what makes all the difference in an unforgettable gastronomic experience. A good escanção (sommelier) is the result of training, refined study, sensitivity and love for wine. A good escanção is still the best wine ambassador to the consumer.
If you like performances, the escanção is an artist.
In good Portuguese, a sommelier is, today, just a francophone term for escanção. The word, of Provencal origin, has changed over time and was originally used for the driver of large animals that transported goods, especially wine. The sommelier was also responsible for tasting the wine before the king, in order to guarantee its quality and, above all, that it had not been poisoned. The evolution of the term later involved another status for the sommelier, as being in charge of supplying and maintaining the pantry, cellar and table and wine service in the royal and noble houses. By that time, the sommelier was below the escanção. These days, these perks are only found in good restaurants and the term ended up meaning the same as our Portuguese escanção.
The sommelier is a escanção.
An oenophile is passionate about wine. An exquisite and specialized connoisseur, in constant search for knowledge, who likes to broaden their knowledge, reading up about viticulture and learning to distinguish grape varieties and different production techniques. The oenophile is below the sommelier, because s/he is not a professional, but s/he is certainly an informed and demanding consumer, who likes to make the best choices. Their appreciation for the sacred universe of wine often leads them to attend courses to broaden their knowledge.
The oenophile is self-taught.
We have left the lovers, those dedicated and passionate connoisseurs, for the end. These are the people for whom wine matters, who give it the attention and honour of good dinners among lovers, friends and all those who matter the most. Far from being able to produce or evaluate a wine, or being masters at matching, lovers nevertheless know when it works on the palate, and have the sensitivity and knowledge for many more feats of smell and taste. If you follow us, you will no doubt be one of them. Welcome, since there are never too many good lovers.
We are all lovers.