Who should tend Napa's vines?

Larkmead vineyard crew

The choice between outsourcing viticulture or hiring in-house vineyard staff examined.

Among oenophiles, the word ‘terroir’ is discussed ad nauseum. For top-tier wines, it’s generally the first item on the agenda. How many times have you heard a producer say that their wine is ‘made’ in the vineyard?

And yet much of the time, budgets still prioritise the winery over the vineyard (and, often, marketing over both!). Vineyard work is viewed as unskilled labour, the winemaker comes before the vineyard manager on the website (if the VM is even listed), and the winemaker’s first thought when making nutrient additions in...