Your Guide to Organic, Biodynamic and Natural Wine



At Wine FTW, Louise Hurren interviews Randall Grahm about his new Popelouchum Project:

“The whole notion behind the initiative is really predicated on the idea that the New World has really been hopelessly imitative of the Old – we haven’t yet discovered our unique and distinctive voice. My idea is that growing varietal blocks of grapes is quite limiting – we’ll never find the degree of congruence that the Old World has discovered with their centuries of iteration – but maybe by growing completely heterogeneous blocks, every vine genetically distinct from the other, we can produce a wine of real complexity, and allow the soil characteristics of the wine, rather than the varietal characteristics, to emerge. It’s my hope that I’ll be able to produce a wine from our Popelouchum Estate in San Juan Bautista, reflective of the great quality of terroir I know it to possess. Secondarily, we might find certain vines that are particularly well suited to the site, or which have utterly unique (and favourable) characteristics.”


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Randall Grahm is seeking $350,000 in funding for his Popelouchum Vineyard project on Indiegogo.

In his own words (and be grateful Indiegogo doesn’t have the capability for footnotes):

We aim to create a truly unique, superior and nuanced wine, a “Grahm Cru,” an expression of the unique terroirs of our Popelouchum Estate in San Juan Bautista. We plan to do this by adopting a very unusual methodology – the breeding of 10,000 new grape varieties, each genetically distinctive from one another – and blending them into a unique cuvée that the world has not tasted heretofore. In so doing, we might also discover individual vines that are more congruent to our site as well as those that might have greater global utility – disease or drought tolerance – in a changing climate. We plan to employ biodynamic practice and use other techniques – some new-fangled (the use of biochar), some old-fangled (dry-farming), to grow grapes in a more deeply and truly sustainable fashion.

Read about the full project on the site. Some quick notes, though… the grapes will be grown biodynamically, and he also plans to have the vineyard certified organic. Perks include dinner at the vineyard and the chance to name one of the grape varieties.


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Mike Benziger

From The Press Democrat:

Benziger Family Winery, founded more than 30 years ago by a pioneering Sonoma Valley wine family who helped bring green farming practices into the mainstream, is being sold to one of the world’s largest producers of low-priced wines.

The Wine Group, the world’s third-largest wine company with such budget brands as Franzia, Almaden and Corbett Canyon, announced Monday it has purchased the winery in Glen Ellen and its nearby sister winery, Imagery.

Financial terms were not disclosed, though industry estimates ranged from less than $90 million to slightly more than $100 million.

The article also states that part of the deal includes the winery’s green practices will be maintained. Over at Wine-Searcher, W. Blake Gray sees this may be a sign of biodynamics moving into the mainstream.

This might be a good time to invest in cow horns.


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In Punch, Alice Feiring discusses the future of Natural Wine.


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From Wine-Searcher:

Pioneering Burgundy winemaker Anne-Claude Leflaive has died at her Burgundy home at the age of 59. The celebrated Puligny-Montrachet producer leaves an indelible print on Domaine Leflaive, having converted its vineyards to biodynamic practices during her tenure.

Anne-Claude joined the family business in 1990, before taking sole responsibility for the domaine in 1993. Within four years she had converted the cultivation of Domaine Leflaive’s 24 hectares (60 acres) of vineyard, including Le Montrachet, one of the world’s greatest Chardonnay vineyards, to biodynamics. Her initiative made her one of the earliest exponents of the practice.


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Wine lovers can celebrate Earth Day and learn more about sustainable and organic practices in the vineyard while wine tasting at the wineries on the Organic Wine Trail of the Santa Cruz Mountains on Saturday, April 18.

These Santa Cruz Mountains wineries have formed the Organic Wine Trail to showcase their certified organic vineyards: Silver Mountain Vineyard along Summit Road between Los Gatos and Soquel; Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards in Saratoga; Ridge Vineyards in Cupertino; and Alfaro Family Vineyards in Corralitos. Visitors can learn more about growing organic winegrapes with self-guided or guided tours, enjoy the vineyards and coastal and mountain views, picnic and taste wine. Hours are 12:00-5:00. Cooper-Garrod opens at 11:00.

The wine trail route makes a nice day’s excursion. It is a wonderful opportunity to explore the wineries of the Santa Cruz Mountains, from Saratoga and Cupertino to Corralitos, while learning about the extra steps vineyards and wineries take to adhere to organic standards.

The cost for the self-guided tour is only the tasting fee/policy set by each winery, from $5-$10. Guided tours with local transportation providers are also available, as are special package tours. Cooper-Garrod offers an Eco-Ride with a docent-led horseback ride through the Fremont-Older Open Space.

April 18 is also Passport Day in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Passports, $45, are good at participating wineries on each of the quarterly Passport Days, and are available from the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association (SCMWA) at www.scmwa.com and at the wineries on the wine trail.

More info at www.organicwinetrail.org.


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Paulee2015

Anjou Noir Organic Winemakers invite you on Monday, July the 20th at 10 am, at Domaine Richou in Mozé sur Louet for the 4th edition of the « Paulée de l’Anjou Noir ». A glorious and friendly event to celebrate Anjou wines and gastronomy.

Black Anjou organic wines offer a remarkable diversity of expressions. The winemakers members of the association « Paulée de l’Anjou noir », share the same philosophy. They are organic and/or biodynamic producers and they want to produce real terroir wines. They have a strong will to bring new dynamics and a renewal in Anjou wines.

The fourth edition of the Black Anjou Paulée will take place at Domaine Richou in the Aubance Valley. The idea is to meet for an interesting, festive and friendly event, when the work in the vineyard is about to be finished and before harvest time.

Program:
From 9 am: Welcome coffee
From 10 to 12 am: Departure for an interpretive walk in the Aubance Hills with a few stops aimed at the discovery of special features with the help of experts.
12 am: Tasting
as of 2 pm: Barbecue and relaxing time at Domaine Richou.

Come and meet with Anjou noir winemakers, discover their terroirs and taste their wines, at Domaine Richou on Monday, July the 20th, 2015.

More info: www.pauleeanjounoir.fr


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July 8-10 2015 in Marlborough, New Zealand

The Organic and Biodynamic Winegrowing conference is the first of its kind to be held in New Zealand and is being organised through Organic Winegrowers NZ.

The conference will run over 2 ½ days and will play host to speakers and guests from all over the world. The programme will feature a number of technical seminars, panel sessions, an international and New Zealand organic wine tasting, keynote speeches and an organic feast, designed and prepared by award winning chef Bevan Smith from Riverstone Kitchen in Oamaru.

The conference is open to all wine industry members in NZ and Australia and is an opportunity for companies to learn more about every aspect of organic viticulture, wine production and marketing.

Organic Winegrowers New Zealand (OWNZ) is a growers’ association dedicated to supporting and encouraging the production of high quality organic wines.
Founded in 2007 by organic viticulturists and vineyard owners from every major wine region in New Zealand, OWNZ is an independent incorporated society, governed by and for its members. The organisation is led by a national executive committee of organic and biodynamic winegrowers, and by regional grower committees in several wine regions.

To promote networking and learning, OWNZ delivers field days and workshops on organic winegrowing throughout New Zealand. Other current projects include creation of online and printed resources on organic growing; marketing and publicity about NZ organic wines; and organic research projects. In spring 2011 we launched the Organic Focus Vineyard project, a research and demonstration project highlighting the process of converting a vineyard to organic management.

OWNZ works in partnership with New Zealand Winegrowers, who provide collaboration and some funding support.

For more information go to: www.organicwineconference.com


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