The Culture of Hacking


We think that the wine business is ripe for hacking.

Lots of people think of hacking in the illicit, sub-culture sense, but in the legitimate world of hacking, those folks are referred to as “Crackers”. Hacking is simply about creating innovative solutions.

Hugh pointed out to us a year ago that using Aussie and Kiwi tech to make Sauvignon Blanc in South Africa, was a hacker move. We were not the first to do this sort of thing, but that just means that there is a community of hackers in the wine business and we believe that it is these guys who move the industry forward.

We think that the recent award that we won for the best Pinotage produced in South Africa was based upon a production ethos that hacked some more traditional production techniques. Freshness of course, in a world where older is considered better, is a bit of a hacker approach.

Wine is defined by historical paradigms and perpetuation of old beliefs: Place defining wine instead of a certain ethos of production that actually makes the difference.

Many people think that terroir defines a wine, but put the wrong winemakers, procedure or equipment into great terroir, and then terroir matters little. However, great technique can take the mundane and make it special. We see that with hacker driven producers like Andy Quady, making great wine in the heart of a commodity grape growing area. Randall Graham has done the same thing… created great products from mundane sources. How often has a great winemaker shown the potential of a hitherto under estimated area?

We’ve been privileged to meet a number of hackers in the tech and marketing communities over the last year and what seems to make many of them really shine, is an approach to innovation and pushing the status quo.

We’ll be talking more about hacking, how the approach can bring new levels of enjoyment to wine and a couple of new hackerish projects that we are working on.

We’re adding the little insignia above to the blog, which is known at the Glider. Check it out when you have a moment.


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