That’s only part of the story though. Feravina isn’t just about healthier options for wine lovers. It’s about delicious wine, made by people who care about what they’re making and the land the grapes come from, and it’s about experiencing a tantalising voyage of discovery in every bottle.
In this article, our founder and sommelier Mike shares how we choose wine for Feravina from this general ethos, so you can enjoy the best wine we think money can buy!
The most important thing to us, and probably to you, is that a wine is delicious. But what does that mean? For us, we’re looking for complexity, structure, purity of flavour, and just generally great value for money.
Value for money can be a tricky one though. A $5 bottle of wine would be considered good value for money if it’s even remotely drinkable, whereas a $5000 bottle of wine might be considered bad value for money pretty much no matter how good it is! And yes, for better or worse, such wines exist.
For us, it needs to be above a certain threshold, so we’ll rarely sell wines that are at bargain basement prices, simply because it’s nigh impossible to make a handcrafted, quality wine at that price, never mind one that also fits our health-conscious criteria.
Once a wine gets that unquantifiable tick of quality from us, we focus on whether it's good for the price or not. We try delicious wines all the time that unfortunately come at a price that can’t be justified when comparing them to other quality wines we sell at lower prices. At the same time, we get shown cheaper wines that might fit our criteria and still taste alright, yet they don’t quite rise to that level of quality for us.
In the end, deliciousness is somewhat subjective, but it does have an objective element as well, which is where a bit of wine experience comes into play. Luckily, I’ve been working as a sommelier for more than 10 years, and judging wine as objectively as possible is a key part of that profession. So, you’re in good hands!
Wine made by people, not companies
While there are undoubtedly decent wines out there being made by large corporations with a board of directors, investors, marketing departments and so on, we find these wines inevitably tend to lack a certain amount of soul.
The lack of a singular vision, the putting of the profit motive above all else, as well as the volume of production, all work together to make a product that can never be as good as something handcrafted by an artisan.
The producers we work with are very small. Often it’s just the winemaker/grape grower and their family. When you work with this kind of producer, you find out very quickly that they have an intimate connection to their vineyards. They’re in them year-round, pruning and training the vines, nourishing the soil, managing the vines’ canopies, keeping an eye out for pests and diseases and finding holistic and organic/biodynamic solutions to any problems.
When a vineyard and its vines are well looked after, that’s when great wine is possible, and sometimes good natural wine almost makes itself, with little input from the winemaker. But it’s the little things that count, and it’s the small actions that a winemaker takes that can make the difference between a good wine and a great wine.
With large productions, such minute attention to detail is impossible, which is why we stick to smaller producers where it’s not only possible but expected!
We’ve all heard of Sav Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Shiraz. But have you heard about Zweigelt, Tannat, Macabeu, and Garganega?
Probably not. Some grape varieties are simply better known than others. Is it because they’re better? Not really! There are great wines being made the world over from the more recognisable, mainstream varieties, that’s for sure. But there are even more great wines being made from varieties you’ve never heard of.
These hidden gems aren’t only being grown in Europe. There are many winemakers right here in Australia working with alternative varieties, and these wines can be some of the best value for money wines out there. If you use a mainstream variety, that means it’ll sell just based on that alone, so making wine from an obscure variety takes courage, the kind of courage one gets from knowing they’re growing the right grape in the right bit of land, and that it’ll make a brilliant wine.
Also, well-known regions like Barossa Valley and Mornington Peninsula don’t have to work very hard to sell their wines. These regions make excellent wines to be sure, and we won’t hesitate to sell wines from these regions. At the same time, we’re always excited to feature something from a lesser-known region like Frankland River or Mudgee, or even a country one doesn’t normally think of getting wine from like Austria or South Africa.
Wine is something you can drink and study all your life and there will always be more to discover, so why be satisfied with the familiar when there’s an entire world of wine to explore and travel through?
The Feravina way: quality, soul, and value in every wine we choose
Just like with our health-conscious criteria, Melissa and I are two health-conscious wine lovers who are picking the wines we want to drink and sharing them with our Feravina family, just like we’d share them with our families and friends IRL.
Beyond the wines being a healthier alternative to everyday wine you’d find on the shelf, they’re also a chance to drink something that’s handcrafted by people who put their heart and soul into every bottle, a chance to discover grape varieties and wine regions you normally wouldn't have come across, and most importantly, a chance to drink something transformative and delicious that takes value for money to the next level.