Our winemaker, Tony Craig
Head Winemaker, Shakespearean Actor, Black Belt
Before joining Savannah-Chanelle in June of 2003, Tony Craig gained a wealth of experience in learning how to do a lot with a little. Like all creative endeavors, the challenges and limitations that Tony has experienced often resulted in inspired solutions.
THE TASTE OF CONFIDENCE
Tony confronts all aspects of the winemaking process with the confidence of his experience. He has acquired the good sense to know when to act – and when not to. So if you are waiting for Tony to deliver a soliloquy on the trendiest thoughts in the world of wine-making today, you may be waiting a long time. His wine-making style might best be described as practical dogma; he prefers results over ideology. Tony is also perfectly comfortable allowing problems to naturally sort themselves out before intervening.
A WINEMAKER’S DAY CAN GO THE EXTREMES
One day Tony may drive 600 miles to deliver fruit to the winery from a remote vineyard, while on another day he may force himself to stay away from the winery so the wine can “think for itself.” Like raising a child, making wine isn’t always filled with days that have your shirt buttons popping with pride. And, also like raising a child, some days the results of your efforts exceed even your own expectations. Any good winemaker tries to have more days in the second group. It is clear with Tony’s track record that he achieves this goal.
EVERY WINEMAKER HAS A STYLE
Tony’s style is defined by the velvety-smooth textures of his wines. This trait is particularly present in his many Pinot Noir offerings. While some clever adaptation of technology is partly to credit, nothing about making wine is ever about just one thing. Like all elite winemakers, Tony knows that wine is made in the vineyard and good wine tells you what it wants to be. The best winemakers know the goal is to make wine that tastes more of the unique vineyard site than the personality of its maker. Tony respects the individual characteristics of the vineyard sites that he works with and these characteristics always show in the finished product.
WHEN FORCING HIMSELF TO BE AWAY FROM THE WINERY
Tony is an avid reader of the works of William Shakespeare – as you would expect from a native Englishman classically trained in the art. Tony also holds an advanced belt in Tae Kwon Do, a passion that he shares with his son Sasha. Tony’s wife, Elena Sharkova, is a professional Choral Conductor and performs concerts around the globe.