Great winemakers, minor masterpieces. Troupe Wine by Gramafilm.
Written by Jessica Palmarozza
In the past few years, the natural wine scene in London has exploded. Today, every corner of London now boasts bottle shops stocked with low intervention wines, or packed bars serving a curated list of small batch creations.
Yet, wine is an industry that prides itself on tradition. In fact, its tenets, its rules are all derived from adhering to the way things have always been done. From the appellation systems or the naming conventions for tasting notes, it’s a highly regimented subculture, entry to which is infamously difficult, evidenced by the gruelling exams sommeliers must undertake.
How then is it possible that there is this new experimental wave of winemaking which can eschew these limitations? The answer is all in the word ‘natural’.
This bit of branding has allowed the contemporary wine scene an enormous amount of freedom to take risks with wine making, and to develop a different style of wine.
But with such quick growth & experimental risks, come failures. The experiments do not always succeed.
The new holy grail of winemaking is a natural wine which is as well made, as balanced and as complex as its conventional luxury counterpart.
Troupe, a new wine collective, may have the answer.
Troupe explore & unearth the best experiments in natural wine and bring them to market in London. With the abundance of natural wines emerging, encountering a Troupe wine on a shelf or wine list can be a truly comforting experience. You’ve discovered a minor masterpiece.
What clearly sets Troupe apart is how they foreground their winemakers. Each label has a bespoke illustration of the winemaker and each release bears the winemaker’s name. Drinkers are not just interacting with a brand, but with the farmer - the artist - the winemaker.
This is what identified Troupe as a brand that Gramafilm was interested in partnering with. Like Troupe, Gramafilm follows the human story behind any brand. Making things by hand is a strong working principle for the production studio.
Keen to help support this new innovation, support their story and hopefully get a few tasters along the way, Gramafilm offered Troupe their latest Magazine collaboration. A place to support independent creatives & industry shakers, Gramafilm Magazine develops fully funded films for brands on a pro-bono basis, helping them showcase exactly who they are.
So, Senior Producer Jessica Palmarozza assembled a creative team who were experienced with this kind of storytelling to create a profile of one of Troupe’s greatest winemakers, Martin Diwald.
In Autumn 2022, the team travelled to Großlinder, a village near Vienna. The village is just as you imagine it. Surrounded by vineyards, which in November were a brilliant orange,Martin lives with his wife and two daughters in a 19th century farmhouse, across the road from his winery. His neighbours are either farmers or winemakers, or both.
Arriving just after harvest, the team were ready & waiting to capture the fermentation process. And it was no small team. Jessica was accompanied by our self-shooting director, Jack Bailey, and his trusted focus puller, Ali (a long term collaborator). Joining Gramafilm were the Troupe team, Tom and Nick, who were there to taste and give feedback to Martin at the early fermentation stage. They brought with them their bottle illustrator, Sophie Glover, who had travelled from London to draw Martin in his working environment for the label design.
With only one full day of filming, Jack had a major task on his hands: he needed to capture the vineyard, give a sense of the place, but also show what kind of maker Martin is, and what sets his bespoke creation for Troupe apart from the rest of his slate. Jack managed to find all the right moments: the stopper out of the barrel, the swill in the sunlight, the child running through the chicken coop.
Jack’s tactile approach to shooting was reflected in the post production process. Sophie Pham, the Gramafilm editor, used pauses in the edit to direct the viewer’s attention to particularly painterly frames. She also worked with Tiago Kingwell, Head of Film, to build a complex sound bed of nature sounds which reflect the organic farming principle of collaborating with the vine’s environment.
Martin’s passion for winemaking is obvious from his interview. His family have been farming wine organically for over 45 years, at a time when such methods were viewed as rather strange.
They do everything by hand, barely pruning the vines, which gives them a jungle quality. During the fermentation process, interventions are equally minimal. The Troupe x Martin wine - like the landscape it came from - will be orange; a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Gruner Veltliner. The small number of bottles produced makes it essential to capture the winemaking process in time, preserving both the tradition and wine itself.
Make sure to follow Troupe to discover where you can try it for yourself. The wine will be released to restaurants in London in October 2023, with some bottles available online via the distributor.