Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Organic Vines Inside: Five of VWM's 20 Most Admired Winemakers Have Organic Estates

Vineyard and Winery Management's latest issue of the 20 Most Admired Winemakers is a prestigious list indeed, featuring a real who's who of U.S. winemaking.

Is it worth remarking upon that 25% of the winners have organic estate vineyards?

Those winners include two of the state's grand, old men - pre-eminent winemakers Paul Draper of Ridge Vineyards and Josh Jensen of Calera - who pioneered terrain that was not yet proven when they began. Now those spots - Monte Bello in Cupertino, Ridge's heritage vines in Sonoma County and Calera's lonely, limestone laden outpost in Mount Harlan in San Benito County -  are hallowed ground.

John Williams of Frog's Leap has taken the path less traveled as well, farming organically since 1981 and making dry farmed wines that truly do express terroir, growing on vines that are more deeply rooted.

These three all have certified organic estate vines - 83 acres at Calera, 277 acres at Ridge, and 200 acres at Frog's Leap.

Two more farm organically but are not certified - Cathy Corison of Corison Winery (on the 8 acre Kronos vineyard surrounding her winery) and Ted Lemon of Littorai (on his 3 acre Pivot vineyard surrounding his winery).

(One could even say Joel Peterson of Ravenswood has organic vines, too, but since those 14 acres only amounts 650 cases of wine [out of 1 million], we will resist.)

And on the list of six honorable mentions, one more - Paul Dolan - has been a pioneer of the Fetzer and Bonterra brand, the largest U.S. producer of organically grown wines as well as his own brand, Paul Dolan Vineyards (which now continues under new ownership).

Bravo for Team Organic.

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