The Art of Winemaking by burgundy artist Joyce Delimata

The more usual connotation from the association of art and wine is the simultaneous enjoyment of both – at exhibitions, or the works on the wall of your favourite restaurant!

However in the case of Burgundy artist Joyce Delimata, the relationship takes on an altogether different meaning.

Joyce is a classically trained art graduate of the Universite de Grenoble and later lived for 15 years in the world’s most famous red wine village, Gevrey Chambertin.  She still lives in the heart of her beloved Cote de Nuits, Burgundy. 

From 2000 Joyce has dedicated her creative talent to a quasi -scientific study of wine, the vines and the wine making process.

Her work can broadly be divided into three categories.

First there are her technically impressive drawings of the Ceps – the foot of the vine.  Unlike other grape varieties, the trunk of the Pinot Noir red grape found in large parts of Burgundy, is short – often not much more than 50cm, and after some time becomes twisted and gnarled.   With the single fruit producing stem emanating at an angle from near the top of the plant, it can bear a striking resemblance to a golfer in full swing, or a sword wielding eastern warrior!  The plants can grow for upwards of 100 years, but do not get much taller.  Instead they tend to twist and turn in on themselves, creating contorted images of an imagined painful experience.   The older Ceps often become encrusted with moss, and the bark starts to flake.  The result is a myriad of subtly different colours - dark brown with yellow hues, and here and there shades of purple and green from the moss.  Joyce captures the image and colours perfectly, and her drawings are both attractive and powerful.

Then there are the red dots – a sort of vineous take on a Damien Hirst!  However the dots represent the colours of the particular vintage they record, thus preserving forever the colour characteristics of the wine,  (possibly in each year of its existence).  Earlier vintages can be compared with later, as can changes over time for the same wine.  There is an almost scientific precision to the work, but the overall and overriding effect is mesmerizingly beautiful.  A particularly attractive and memorable alternative to a bottle of wine of a particular year to commemorate a birthday or anniversary.

The final category is her 'Naissance du Vin’ series.  Every year since 2005 Joyce has been invited by Domaine de la Romanee- Conti to capture their wine making process. These visits result in magnificent coloured sketches and drawings of the cuves once the juice has completed its first fermentation.  Larger more detailed studies comprise paintings of the juice during the fermentation, often while there are still discernible clusters of grapes included in the mix.  These works appeal on two fronts, the first for their inherent power and precision, but secondly as an historical record of the creation of some of the world’s very greatest wines.

A selection of Joyce’s work is available to view on the Les Deux Chevres website and a larger selection on display at Les Deux Chevres.