Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wine maker with a passion and a vision

Aleš Kristančič was selected from among the top 12 wine creators in the world. His wines are present in some of the most prestigious restaurants in Napa Valley, New York, and many places in Europe. Despite the fame, he stays devoted to his inner calling, and the whispers of guidance of his soul. Without recourse to big words we entered his inner corridors; we talked to his heart, and I hope he awakens your inspiration and dreams, as well. This is his story.

VB: Who is Aleš Kristančič?

AK: Alora. A father, a husband, a wine creator.

VB: Father?
AK: Maybe not an ideal one. I know I do not have enough time for them. But, when I am with them I enjoy in their games, I am really with them. Just today we made a secret door to their secret place that they use for hiding from their friends. I get really pulled in by something like that.

VB: Husband?
AK: My wife is my Queen. And I really treat her that way. When we have our private moments I am fully present with her. I travel through life with passion and I try to show that in all situations. Because of the special type of work that we do (ps: farmers, wine makers), we have predefined days off. We go with the flow of nature. The fact that we can work together and share this flow is a very special gift of life. Since we are both part of the same story it is easier for us to coordinate our daily activities.

VB: Wine creator?
AK: Wine is my life. Even if you ask me about my hobby I would choose wine again. When I see wine I have a feeling that I hold in my hands something that belongs to my soul. There are no substitutes for things like that. Even when I was a child and I helped my dad, I always, from the first day when our farm was still a classical old farm, believed that vine was something above the rest of farming. I was always saying to my dad that the day would come when we would be opening a bottle of our wine in the best restaurants in New York. This vision was in me all the time. It was a great motivation. And it happened. For me it was a natural step.

VB: What is your motivation today?
AK: A "Spiritual" dimension. I believe that if you enter the natural processes of wine you cannot get addicted to it, you start living its cycle. We find wine in nature; and, closer to the wine of nature we become, closer to the mission of wine we are. The road to a perfect grape is through hands not through the use of chemicals. I consider myself a wine cavalier, because wine needs people that understand its character, heart and soul, someone that lives with it through the entire production cycle.

VB: Where is this vision and passion coming from?
AK: If you walk the path I have described above, the passion is an integral part of it. You live with it and you are constantly improving it. Without passion I doubt that you can be a good father, husband or wine creator. Passion is a special energy that you need to wake up in yourself. And if you focus this passion into something you love real things start happening..

VB: Who is MOVIA?
AK: My brand. Originally, Movia is the name of our farm that has successfully responded to all the challenges of times she has lived through. It is based on a last name of the original family that build the house. In 1820 the first Kristančič married into the family. I am the 8th generation. Yet the farm kept the original name - Movia. I continue this tradition and used it also as the top brand for my wines.

VB: How about your personal identity in a relation to the farm identity?

AK: When I started, the unique name of the farm helped me to differentiate myself from the rest of wine makers that had the same last name as me. At the same time I had a chance to bring fame and recognition back to the farm again. In the past it was always something special, independent, not part of the nobles property.

VB: What is innovation to you?
AK: To me innovation means trying to get back to the roots, bringing to the wine the position it really deserves. Yet, I do not think that the makers do the same. I think we should speak much more critically about the way wine is made today, how certain tastes, colour and smell is achieved, what is the true content of the process of making it. We should ask our self if the process has really been a natural one, or if chemicals have been used. We should speak more about its structure, true content. I wish that we would speak about the wine more critically, with a higher level of consciousness. Especially for the wines based on grapes. Wine is a product of nature. If we achieve it in a different way then it should be called differently as well.

VB: What about bio-wines?
AK: Bio is a symbol of certain standards that were used in a process; it represents a set of parameters that are used for evaluation. However, it does not mean that the wine is good. It just means that it was produced in a certain way. I am interested in creation of the original story, nature based taste, scent, colour.

VB: Who is then, a wine creator: innovator, an artist, or engineer?
AK: A wine maker is an artist, an artist, an artist.

VB: Movia is also part of a successful regional story. What is a secret of the success of the Medana region?
AK: In Medana I was the first to start making changes. Medana has been pushed aside for a long time. Our parents were all just there to keep the area an agricultural area. However, there was a crucial moment when I was persuasive enough to get my father to transform a classical farm into a wine farm - a vineyard. We were soon followed by 3or 4 other farmers. In a few years there were 10 farms dedicated to wine. We understood at that point that only if we are helping each other to grow can we succeed. In our "Medana group" it probably happened for the first time in the history of the region that usually stubborn farmers, with very diversified opinions decided to follow the same vision and with common goals. Today Medana is even more successful than similar regions in Italy - our model worked better.

VB: What is "puro"?
AK: This is my joy. The latest one. I believed in this wine from the very beginning. This is a sparkling wine made by a special, new type of method. It allows that even a sparking wine is a product of ripened grapes. Wine based on the method, can be ageing for ever. It can reach 100 years of age and more and still maturing. If we dedicate a little more time to it, even in the of opening of a bottle, we can give people a purity, innocence, a beautiful clear wine without a use of any sulphur. It is a perfect fellow of our life. His life cycle is longer than ours.

VB: Where next ….
AK: Seeking the path towards the real spiritual wine as described in the Bible...

I conducted this interview with Aleš in his office on the Movia farm. It was a full moon. And the senses were all opened up by the aromatic scents of he Movia kitchen, and the light breeze that was playing with magical decorations that his wife had created in the main room. There was a glass of wine too. Of puno wine. It was quite mystical, almost as Aleš himself. Farmer, wine creator, artist, a man of passion and vision. A person, who is proving at every step that he takes, just how beautiful and magical we are, and how important it is to follow the inner calls when walking the path of life.


Anonymous said...

Excellent interview. Excellent questions. Great job. Ales is a great person and a friend. Thank you for capturing his spirit with his words on "paper" - that is hard to do.

Anonymous said...

I have been a friend and a follower of Ales for a few years and can only imagine his intensity and eloquence throughout the interview.
We enjoyed a gorgeous magnum of 1999 puro rose this past sunday in NY and will have the pleasure of seeing him and his wife in my hometown Miami in a couple of weeks. Bravo Movia!!!