Flying winemakers are winemakers and consultants who work with wineries and some even have interests in several wine growing region around the world.
The term flying winemaker has been around now for a couple of decades. The term was coined by Tony Laithwaite, the importer behind Bordeaux Direct and The Sunday Times Wine Club, when he employed Australian Nigel Sneyd to supervise a vintage at the St Vivien co-operative in the Dordogne - France.
Flying winemakers are both an obvious extension and the logical consequence of global wine interests, which sees for example: Champagne makers producing sparkling wines in France; along with California, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. It makes good economic sense that this high level of expertise should be shared globally.

 

The art of the flying winemaker in many older wine regions is to help modernise a wine, a focus on aromas and fruit and made for earlier drinking. Flying winemakers emphasize hygiene and rational work procedures, plus the use of modern winemaking techniques and analysis.
The increased frequency and options for long haul travel has had a big effect, making it much easier for individuals to directly supervise viticulture and winemaking in different regions across the globe, rather than exchanging ideas by mail as they have for centuries.
Some enthusiasts are concerned that this can lead to a homogeneous wine, influenced more by the winemaker's background than the local terroir and varietal typicity. Many of the early flying winemakers were Australians, as their winter is six months ahead of the Northern Hemisphere - so were able to 'moonlight' when things were quiet at home.
Two of the most influential flying winemakers are: Frenchman Michel Rolland (pictured below) from Pomerol who advises over 100 wineries in 13 countries, and Italian Alberto Antonini similarly advices close to 100 wineries in 14 countries.
What is wrong with raising standards of hygiene and sharing ideas...? Plus for example: it is very had to make a wine in Italy - and not have it be Italian, - trust me.