Starting in 2008, we began the transition to farming our estate vineyards organically in order to bring our vineyard management techniques in line with our traditional winemaking practices, which employ only the non-invasive treatments used in fine winemaking prior to Prohibition.
We have always believed that wine is far more interesting and meaningful when it reflects a single place and a natural process. We believe that farming organically results in superior grapes that make world-class wine. This philosophy requires that we maintain certain principles in the vineyard: biodiversity, ecological balance, sustainability, natural pest management, and soil integrity.
We strive to limit “inputs” into the vineyard. Seeding our vineyards with non-vine plants attracts beneficial predatory insects, which mitigates the need to apply an insecticide that might cause harm to non-targeted species like bees. This process also eliminates the possibility that any insecticide residue could be present on the grapes during harvest.
Maintaining soil health is critical to an effective farming operation. To preserve soil structure, we only cultivate every other row between grapevines. At both of our winery facilities, we collect the stems and pomace left over from winemaking to make organic compost. This compost is applied to sections of the vineyard where our standard winter cover crop does not fully satisfy the nutritional needs of the vines.
It is rare for a winery to make more than a dozen barrels of wine using such a natural approach, taking sustainably and organically-grown grapes and turning them into wine using only “pre-industrial” winemaking methods. Ultimately, the ends justify the means, because wines made in this fashion more aptly express their provenance and are far more gratifying to make and drink.