Wine Geek of the Week Jas Swan
Where I ask my favorite wine geeks shitty questions!
Tell us a bit about yourself. Why are you a wine geek?
I have a spreadsheets that I am working on about different vitis varieties, which I think instantly reaches quite high geek level. Otherwise I can keep up a conversation about biodynamics while spelling my name through performance dance. I think pilzwiderstandsfaehige rebsorten should be the word of the year and believe that if I was a grape I'd be gewürztraminer. Besides that I am teaching myself how to make wine (yes with some help of others, but no one ever makes wine truly alone) and different types of wine. I am weirdly fascinated by ESCA and wonder why EU wine laws are so restrictive in comparison to the US. Wine is affecting climate change and I want to try and change that along with a group of truly passionate winemakers.
Extraterrestrials just landed on earth. What wine do you pour them?
Finally I’ve been expecting you. Please have this high VA Brett bomb I kept especially for you...
What's your favorite scent you have ever smelled in a wine?
Difficult question, but sandalwood for example in a good Gewürztraminer is always a treat. I weirdly like the petrol notes in aged Riesling. I also actually quite like a whiff of Brett. You know, on the pony scale (that is the Brett scale, I compare Brett with Ponies because I am weird) I like 1 or 2 ponies. But an entire herd of Brett is just not cool.
Any favorite music or podcasts you like to listen to while you drink wine?
I love the Savage Lovecast, where people can ask ANY question. Sometimes filthy, sometimes raunchy, sometimes dramatic, sometimes sad, there is always something entertaining as well as educational on it that we can all learn from.
If you could visit any wine region in the world right now what would it be any why?
Iceland. I want to plant a vineyard there…Ok maybe not the answer you were looking for. Right now this second my heart feels sad cause I can’t be in Ardèche. Its my favorite place in France, the mountains, the vineyards, the spiritual attitude the folks have there. The wines that result into characters out of it. The savoie vive. The cheese along with it. Edith Piaf in the background singing away. Fuck, France is just pure wine romance and I am living for it. The spirituality is sometimes what I miss in Germany.
What do you think is the most exciting thing going in the world of wine right now?
Piquette. Low alcohol, fun and cheerful. Low alcohol in general is a blessing, I don’t want to be shitfaced after 2 glasses of wine.
What would you like to see in the future of wine?
- More diversity of sexes, races, sexuality, more acceptance of the weird.
- More organic winemaking.
- Finding a balance between keeping traditions and being open for new.
- "Stuck up middle aged white male mansplainers” that die out.
- More piwi plantings, so that we can even work more naturally, the future to more sustainable viticulture.
- The wine industry to have less to no impact of climate change.
- I want climate change to stop in general. Wine related or not.
- Less Corona and more hugs and fucks.
- Wine fairs. I miss wine fairs so much during lockdown.
What advice would you give yourself looking back to when you first started working in the wine industry?
- To give less of a fuck of what people say is “THE BEST WINE IN THE WORLD”
- To tell more people to fuck off way earlier
- Make your boundaries CLEAR.
- Not everyone or everything is what it seems to be
- Beer people are your friends, it's more relaxed, funnier and also way more friendly to experimenting.
- Travel as much as you can afford
- Have ovaries of steel
- Be aware of your privilege
- Be helpful, because a lot of people will also help you along the way, so give back to the world.
- You don’t have to fight all battles alone. People got your back.
- No one ever makes wine truly on your own.
Who are some people that inspire you in the world of wine?
This can be a long list.
- Alessandra Divella, makes the most elegant franciacortas and is even a couple of years younger than me and already makes wines for 6 or 7 years, Alessandra kicks asses.
- Piri, who is my friend and grower in Nahe Valley who also makes natural wines and just lives and breaths nature. She’s artsy and humble. Its important to be humble.
- Gilles Azzoni, my mentor in the Ardeche who makes wonderful assemblages and is just a very wonderfully spiritual winemaker.
- Jan Matthias Klein at Staffelter Hof, because he is the funniest, most open minded winemaker I know at Mosel. Jan and his family and this entire crew are just terrific and have adopted me a bit like a stray cat. I am pretty cool with that as I get to make my wines now in one of the oldest wineries in the world in company of great people. We are bit like a good old fashion commune, just with more clothing (especially in winter). Gundi & Gerd at the Hof are also one of the hardest working people I have ever met. Yamile and her crazy happy ferments, Verena the chicken lady, Kosi and his composts, Jani and his Solawi. The list could go on endlessly.
- Lammidia in Italy who helped me start up my business, as they are 2 guys who also didn’t study winemaking and just gave it a go. I like fearless people.
- Andreas Mann who I sometimes mock as a grade A student of winemaking but who in all seriousness is just so passionate and detailed the way he works, it really shows in his amazing wines and who is one of the most caring people I know. Precise, funny and helpful. He can tell the best stories in the world. Also he has a moustache. The moustache itself is 100% inspiration.
- People like Fruktstereo or Antidoot who make crazy cross ferments, aren’t scared to experiment and just go for it.
- Alex and Maria Koppitsch who are basically my Austrian Aunt and Uncle in a way. Their wines, but also their kindness, their sense of sustainability and care for their product is very inspiring
- My dog Simba, cause even when the days are dark he puts a smile on my face and makes me leave my bed.