House concerts are a great way to combine music with other interesting activities. As a concert producer, I realise that wine is both an attraction and detriment, the latter if not controlled can be a runaway cost. New house concert producers often fret over where to obtain affordable but good wine and ample supply of wine glasses. One way to deal with this is to invite a wine connoisseur or a wine merchant to provide the wines, i.e. outsource the entire “wine” department.
Anne Ku and Robert Bekkers at Funen Park, Amsterdam
I invited Eveline Scheren, who started her own organic wine business recently, to offer her wines after our piano guitar duo concert at Funen Park, Amsterdam on Sunday 25th July 2010. I had met Eveline at a sister Rotary Club meeting in Utrecht a year ago. We stayed in touch via e-mail though she had never been to any of our concerts, until yesterday.
Organic wine tasting display at Funen Park 125, Amsterdam
“How is organic wine different from normal, non-organic wines?” I asked.
Eveline, who has both an MSc in Wine Management and an MBA, explained that organic (also known as biological) refers to a way of farming which does not use pesticides, fungicides, or other harmful chemicals that cause the soil to lose all life. Acquiring this certification poses considerable uncertainty and risk to the farmer because crops could fail. As a result, organic wines tend to be more expensive.
She gave some rough statistics. About 3% of the agricultural land in France is used for vineyards. But 30 to 50% of all pesticide, fungicide, and other chemicals used in farming is used by the wine industry. That is a shocking amount. No wonder the soil dies after a few years. Organic farming, on the other hand, uses natural means to fight the bugs and aims to create a new equilibrium in the vineyard so that the soil comes back to life. In other words, it’s more creative, takes more time, but ultimately results in sustainable practices that are less harmful to the earth.
Eveline's organic wine tasting at Funen Park, Amsterdam
After our one hour duo concert, the 22 guests gathered around Eveline’s table of organic wines for tasting. I asked for the single French rosé wine to taste but discovered that the Italian white was just as refreshing.
There is a simple analogy between music and wine. Our concert was a taste of our music. Those that liked it wanted more — and bought our CDs. Those that enjoyed the taste of the organic wines bought bottles home. We bought three.
Immediately after our concert, one gentleman thanked us and bought our CD. I asked if he would stay for the organic wine tasting. He replied,”No. I have my own wines at home.” Perplexed by his reaction, I told Eveline who remarked knowingly,”He was probably afraid that he would end up buying wines. This happens. Once you taste something you like, you want to buy it.”
“Ah! He did not want to be led into temptation,” I concluded.
It was a most pleasant way to finish our concert experience: to learn about organic wines and to taste the 7 different wines on sale: 3 whites (Italian Fasoli Garganega IGT 2009, Spanish Menade Verdejo Rueda 2009, Portuguese Air Dao White), the Rosé 2009 from France, and 3 reds (Elemental Carmenere 2009 from Chili, Domaine Bassac Cabernet Sauvignon from France, and the red Hospice Catalaans.
I am now drinking the rosé as I type this blog: Domaine Emile & Rose 2009 from France. [Earlier this evening, I had the Domaine Hospice Catalans Grande Reserve 2008 to accompany a delicious venison dinner that Robert cooked.]
Erik, co-owner of Funen Concerts Art Productions, helps Eveline after concert