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Wine and spirits professions

Pernod Ricard's success hinges on production traditions that have been preserved for generations. A few key professions in developing wines and spirits exemplify this desire to sustain the esteemed know-how that ensures the Premium character of the Group’s products. Three professionals in this field talk about their experiences in the Group.

Wine and spirits professions

BARRY CROCKETT, MASTER DISTILLER OF JAMESON

“An industry steeped in tradition and heritage”

Master Distiller of Jameson Irish Whiskey, Barry Crockett is an expert in the art of triple distillation, a process that extracts only the most refined distillate to better reveal the whiskey’s purity and smoothness in the aging process. It is know-how that has been handed down from generation to generation…

A family story

Barry Crockett grew up alongside the old Midleton distillery in the south of Ireland. He started working there in 1965, a time when his father, Max Crockett, was Head Distiller.

Blending tradition and modernity

Having entered the profession during a time of change, Barry Crockett, “gained precious experience of traditional techniques before the old distillery closed its doors.” His job blends modern, high-tech methods with centuries' old expertise.

 

COLIN SCOTT, MASTER BLENDER OF CHIVAS REGAL

“It’s time and passion than make the difference”

For over 20 years Colin Scott has held the secret to making Chivas Regal. Before him, his father and grandfather had devoted their lives to creating this Scotch whisky. It is from this family heritage and his childhood spent in the heart of the Scottish plains and the Orkney Islands (located north of Scotland) that Colin Scott developed his passion for whisky and the expertise that today allows him to carry on the tradition of the House of Chivas.

The importance of handing down

Colin Scott joined the House of Chivas in 1973, where he was taught by Jimmy Lang, who was then Master Blender. Jimmy had himself been taught by his predecessor, as tradition dictates.
In 1989, Colin followed in his mentor’s footsteps and obtained the coveted title of Master Blender. It was now his responsibility to evaluate and choose the whisky samples, and to monitor and control all the stages of the prestigious beverage's development. In this role, he has preserved and perfected the Chivas style. It is this fine blending of talent and tradition that today makes Chivas Regal an extraordinary and internationally renowned whisky.

Years of experience

One doesn’t inherit the title of Master Blender. Even with an innate ‘nose’ and a family predisposition, it takes years of experience to understand Scotch whiskies and transmit all of their magic: “Understanding Scotch takes years, during which you must embrace the whole Scotch whisky experience.”
After more than 30 years at Chivas Regal, Colin Scott is still learning and perfecting his talents as Master Blender. Every day spent developing the subtle blends of flavours brings him new knowledge and enables him to understand new things about whisky. The profession of Master Blender “is creative, artistic and technical, all at the same time. You have to be able, through smell and taste, experience and memory, to analyse and identify the different whiskies on a daily basis in order to understand how they interact with one another.”

The profession of Master Blender is a meticulous one, with a constant learning process in the strive for perfection.

 

ELENA ADELL SAN PEDRO, OENOLOGIST AT THE CAMPO VIEJO WINERY (RIOJA)

The role of the oenologist is enshrouded in an aura comparable to that of a perfumer's 'nose'. But the oenologist is above all a qualified expert who has excellent scientific knowledge that is put to work at every stage of a wine’s development: the choice of grape varieties, planting the vines, producing the wine and storing, ageing and bottling it.

Before being transformed into wine, the grapes undergo several stages that demand skill, patience and care. The oenologist checks the quality of the grape juice musts on arrival from the presses during the harvest, as explained by Elena Adell San Pedro, oenologist at the Campo Viejo Winery: “The first task is to analyse their acidity, healthiness, pH value and alcohol content.
The grapes are then poured into hoppers and put on conveyor belts to be inspected and sorted before reaching the destemmers. Depending on the firmness of their skin, they are then fed into the grape presses or held back. Once in the fermentation tanks, we decide on the temperature, the number of times the grape juice is pumped and stirred, and for how long, conducting daily tastings in order to estimate the most suitable nutrients, tannins and yeasts.”

It's a profession that combines both a passion for wine and strong technical knowledge.