New or old wineskins?


“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new wine, but says, “The old is good.” ’NRSV

Since biblical times, humankind has found change challenging.  The above verse from Luke is generally interpreted as a metaphor for Christianity itself – a new message that wont fit with the old.  But the question of how to integrate the new with the old spans across multiple areas…

One of the challenges with wine is finding the balance between old and new ways of doing things – there is a real tension between:

Tradition and innovation – there is something appealing about the cork but hey screw caps save having to throw out musty, corked wine and are so much easier to put back on the bottle in the fridge!

 Romance and practicality – hand picking and feet stomping of grapes in the late autumn sun is all very well but a machine can harvest much more efficiently.

‘Natural’ versus technological – we could treat the wine with less additives, but  are we OK with murky,unfiltered wine?

Our ideals and what we actually do – why not hand weed between the rows instead of using big vehicles that pump out greenhouse gases…but ohh the labour   😦

It’s not a matter of throwing out all the old ways of doing things and replacing them with newer, superior methods, but rather finding the right place along the continuum.   It is not easy deciding what is worth retaining and what needs replacing.  At Fiasco for example we love to embrace new technologies, including using the internet for our marketing.  At the same time however, we are experimenting with wines that are made in a way done a long time ago – more naturally with wild yeasts and less additives/processing. 

I suspect that in recent times, in areas not limited to winemaking, there has been a movement back to basics, back a little on the continuum.  People seem to be saying: “Hey, wait a minute, back up the bus – lets take a look at the old way, there may be some value in that.”  I guess the recession has played a part in this move.   Tough times forced us to do things the way grandma did and interestingly a recent survey found that many of us actually found these changes to be a positive thing (sorry I can’t source that survey, heard it mentioned on the tele a couple of days ago). 

  I was aware of it when I had my son Archie, 7 weeks ago at Wairau hospital here in Blenheim.  The protocol had changed since I had Finn, over seven years ago.  Immediately after the birth, Archie was placed on me for skin to skin contact for an uninterrupted hour.  No whisking the baby away for weighing or cleaning up.  In fact bathing the baby didn’t happen until a couple of days later.  The idea is that this will help with mother child bonding and with the early establishment of breast feeding.   Demand feeding is also encouraged, again a move back to how things were done a long time ago when instinct was more highly valued.

But its not as simple as just going back to the old way of doing things.  Rather we need to take the time to evaluate everything we do at Fiasco to determine the very best way of making and selling our product.  Sometimes change can be fantastic.  Many of you have probably seen the clip below, but it does make the point that tradition for tradition’s sake can be just as stifling as innovation for innovation’s sake 🙂

P.S  By the way, over on facebook we are giving away free wine this Saturday – check out our fan page and be in to win.


2 Responses to “New or old wineskins?”

  1. August 15, 2009 at 6:25 am

    Very cool story! I didn’t know that they had reverted back to the old ways in the maternity ward. I guess that going back to the “old” way isn’t always such a bad idea! I can think of a few other places that that might apply (further to the wine industry and babymaking).

    How is Archie doing anyways?

  2. August 15, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Hi Heather! Great to hear from you. Yep I can think of loads of other areas too…mmmm bring back the cane, lol. Archie is doing really well thanks. I hope to delay going back teaching for as long as poss…know any wine importers in Canada ?? 🙂 I see on fbook you’ve been doing a bit of babysitting yourself – bet those boys keep you on your toes. Am envious of you in the summer, rainy ol day here today. Take care, x Jacinda

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