Writing about the Family Winemakers tasting has got me thinking about making pinot noir. It struck me that those who choose to work with this finicky grape have something in common with us folks who study economics. This is a philosophical note about the relationship between making pinot noir and studying economics.
A few centuries ago when I was in the Ph.D. program in economics, several of us went out for a few beers. The talk turned to the reasons each of us had for choosing economics as a field. The one common element among all of us was that the subject was difficult.
I often think this way about those who work with pinot noir. Traditionally, this grape is finicky, difficult to vinify, and easy to screw up. However, winemakers have gotten much better, to the point that it seems difficult to make a bad pinot noir (although a few wineries manage). No other grape has so much diversity among the various clones as well as being incredibly responsive to terroir. The brave winemakers who take on the challenges of this grape have our respect as colleagues that are willing to undertake difficult, challenging work.