Interview With A Winemaker – Tyler Dutton
16th June 2023
Wine isn’t just made, it’s crafted by the unwavering expertise of a Winemaker, sometimes old traditions are passed down by generations and on other occasions, new people venture into the industry, introducing us to new creations, this series of Winemaker Interviews will help you uncover the vast world and skills of how the artists passionate about wine make the world a bubbly place.
In this feature we speak with Tyler Dutton, an amazing Winemaker from Washington, The United States of America, let’s discover a little about his time in the American Wine Industry.
Tell Us About Yourself
“I grew up in western Washington state and studied biology and chemistry at Washington State University (WSU). During my time at WSU, I became interested in wine and was fascinated with the reverence that some people had for it. I spent time reading books on wine and tried to learn the alien language that I would hear people use when discussing where a wine came from or what characteristics a wine from a certain region had. At that time I was convinced that I would work in the medical field and had the false belief that you must be born into a winemaking family in order to work in that industry. As my final year of university loomed over me, I began to realize that I didn’t feel drawn to the medical field and that my well-thought-out plans were going to have to change so I decided that instead of diving headfirst into graduate school I would take some time to try to find a new path.”
How Did You Become Involved In The Wine Industry?
“After graduating from WSU, I applied for a working holiday visa in New Zealand and planned to spend most of the next year working and traveling around that country. About 3 months into my trip, I met a group of young winemakers while hitchhiking. I was so enthralled by what they did for a living that I asked for the hiring manager’s information. Three days later I found myself with a pair of muck boots scrubbing a tank and getting the winery ready for harvest.
After that first harvest in New Zealand, I was hooked and spent the next three years traveling and making wine. I would work a northern hemisphere harvest in California, Oregon, or Washington State and then work in the southern hemisphere in either New Zealand or Australia. By doing this I was able to take a crash course in the world of wine and get exposed to many different styles of winemaking.”
As A Winemaker, What Has Been Your Hardest Obstacle To Overcome In Producing Wine?
“The one obstacle that has been hardest for me and many other winemakers around the world has been dealing with the effects of climate change. It’s made winemaking increasingly difficult over the past few years and very few regions have been spared. An uptick in extreme weather events and wildfires are some of the challenges that we’ve seen on the west coast. Fortunately, we have continued to make some incredible wines in the face of these challenges, but it’s something that we are all having to contend with.”
How Do You Determine When Your Wine Is Ready To Drink?
“Every person has a different idea of when a wine is at its best and should be enjoyed. Some people love younger wines that have more primary flavors, others are drawn to the tertiary characteristics that come out with aging. Our goal is to make wines that can be enjoyed upon release but will also age with beauty, so we intentionally craft our wines to be ready to drink whenever our consumers are ready to drink it.”
What Part Of The Wine Making Process Do You Enjoy The Most?
“I really love every aspect of making wine. From making a plan with our growers, to making press decisions, to blending, all of it leads to crafting something that captures a time and a place. Each step in the process presents its own particular challenges but when you’re passionate about crafting wine you learn to love it all.
Maybe my favorite moment in winemaking though is when I get to enjoy a bottle of wine that I have worked on from start to finish. I tend to reflect upon the vintage that I’m drinking and how that growing season is on show in the glass. I also think about all of the hard work that was put into making that wine and all of the people that had an impact in producing it. It’s also a time when I get to muse over the changes that the wine has gone through over the years and contemplate how it will continue to evolve over time. Having those moments makes all of the sacrifices that you make as a winemaker worth it (i.e. long hours, neglected family members, and aching joints).”
Thank you Tyler, for sharing your words, knowledge and experience with us and we at Glass of Bubbly wish you the very best for the future!
Images belong to Tyler Dutton. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission to use them.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.