September 2020 – On a September night during harvest season, Jonathan and Martin arrived in Alsace around midnight. They had an early call time the next morning at 6AM, and with temperatures climbing to 30°C at 9AM already, it was going to be a hot day of picking Sylvaner and Gewurtztraminer.
Since it was Martin’s first trip with VSN, many had warned him that even though wine was readily available from early morning, and its cooling effect very tempting in the heat, to only taste and spit it out. Otherwise, it was going to be a very long day. And while the day passed in a combination of harvesting and Arnaud and Aurelie showing the guys around the vineyard; some went to bed early, while others did not exactly follow the advice…
The next morning – It was time to crush and press the grapes. They had all agreed that it would be a blend of Pinot Noir, Gewurtztraminer and Sylvaner, and even though there had been talk about adding a fourth grape, they’d decided against it – it was too hot out and they didn’t feel like they needed it. At least that’s what Jonathan and Aurelie thought when planning the morning.
Arnaud, however, had other plans. When he showed up, he was ready to go out and harvest Muscat – the fourth grape. What had happened the night before? While Martin did not exactly spit out the wine during the day, nor evening, or night, he’d enthusiastically convinced Arnaud that they needed the fourth grape. And so, it was.
No one knows if Martin remembers the arguments that won over Arnaud, but one thing is certain; Jonathan had to drag him out of bed. The prospects of another day of harvesting grapes, and now with a massive hangover, was not exactly enticing on this hot September morning. But that’s what happens when you forget to spit.
In the car – The mood in the car was a bit mellow in the early morning. Martin especially was very quiet. But there was no turning back now. After another couple of hours of picking in the heat, they had what they needed and returned to the vineyard to crush and press the grapes. Here, Martin’s longtime dream of pressing grapes with his bare feet was finally fulfilled, and it was as though the last bits of his hangover evaporated with his excitement. And, after two days of work, the grape juice was ready with its mix of Pinot Noir, Gewurtztraminer, Sylvaner and Muscat.
6 months later – Half a year after their trip to Alsace, it was evident that it would become a production of around 300 bottles of wine – and thanks to Martin’s escapades, the blend had ended up both unique and complex, most likely making it a one-off. So, in collaboration with Aurelie, they decided to call it Uniqu’orn – an abbreviation and combination of Unique and Unicorn. To create a label to fit the idea, Aurelie asked her friend Stom500 from Belgium to make one, and in an incredibly easy process that took about 1.5 hours, the label was finalized.
Uniqu’orn now serves as a testament to the vision of VSN’s brand – collaboration and fun. Only the winemaking itself should be taken seriously, everything else should be enjoyable and exciting. And even though Martin might have had a bit too much fun, the trip to Alsace proves that, sometimes, mixing business and pleasure, turns work into magic.