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Matt Dees, Winemaker

THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO ARE EDUCATED TOWARD CERTAIN POSITIONS IN LIFE AND OTHERS WHO ARE BORN TO ASSUME THEM—AND MATT DEES IS WHAT YOU’D CALL A NATURAL WINEMAKER.

ARMED WITH A DEGREE IN SOIL SCIENCE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT AND VINTAGES AT STAGLIN IN NAPA, CALIFORNIA AND CRAGGY RANGE IN HAWKES BAY, NEW ZEALAND, MATT HAS AN INTRINSIC FEEL FOR WINE, FROM DIRT TO GLASS. CURIOUS, EARTHY AND EXPERIMENTAL BY NATURE, MATT’S APPROACH TO WINEMAKING IS GROUNDED IN THE VINEYARD (PUN INTENTIONAL) FIRST AND FOREMOST: ATTUNED TO THE VINES, THE WEATHER, THE SOIL, MATT SEEMS ALMOST TO BE A PART OF THE VINEYARD ITSELF.

NOT BEING BOUND BY THE CONVENTIONS OF THE ENOLOGICAL WORLD OF ACADEMIA (NO DEGREE IN WINEMAKING HERE) HAS ALLOWED MATT TO COME TO AN UNTETHERED PHILOSOPHY OF WINE. WHERE JONATA IS CONCERNED, THIS IS AN IMPORTANT POINT: JONATA IS AN UNCONVENTIONAL PLACE THAT REQUIRES AN UNCONVENTIONAL, OPEN MIND TO BRING IT TO LIFE.

LASTLY, MATT HAS ANOTHER VERY CONCRETE TALENT: A KEEN FEEL FOR THE SHAPES AND DIMENSION OF TANNIN. LISTENING TO HIM DISCUSS THE TANNIN ELEMENTS FOUND IN JONATA WINES IS LIKE LISTENING TO BUCKMINSTER FULLER DESCRIBE THE GEODESIC DOME (WHICH HE INVENTED), OR LIKE LISTENING TO THE DARING POLYPHONIC CONSTRUCTION OF BACH’S BRANDENBURG CONCERTOS. DEES IS A WINEMAKER WHO’S EMOTIONALLY AND INTELLECTUALLY CONNECTED TO STRUCTURE, TEXTURE AND TANNIN AND EXPLORES THESE ELEMENTS DEEPLY IN HIS WINES.

MATT IS ASSISTED IN THE WINERY BY DREW PICKERING.