We are excited to announce that we have been officially certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers. CCOF is a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-accredited organic certifying agency and trade association, located in Santa Cruz, California. Formed in 1973, CCOF was the first organic certification entity in the United States.
We went through a rigorous application process to acquire this certification, including listing all of the materials and processes involved in farming our grapes, and undergoing an interview and inspection by a CCOF representative. We’re proud to say we were approved on first review, effective November 2019.
Certifications are renewed annually, and we will need to continue to file our materials and procedures with CCOF in order to maintain our certification.
All soil supplements, fertilizers, and fungicide sprays must be CCOF certified before we can apply them, and any equipment used must be dedicated to organic use or thoroughly washed before it comes onto our property.
We are grateful for the meticulous record keeping and process management of our management company, Redwood Empire Vineyard Management. We chose REVM partly because they were the first certified sustainable vineyard management company in Sonoma County. They have been excellent partners in our journey. Although not all of the vineyards they manage are farmed organically, they do have many clients who are, and so they have proven to be good partners.
Our next goal is to farm the vineyard with biodynamic principles. We have hired renowned enologist Pierre Millemann from Burgundy to help us in this venture. He is an expert in biodynamic farming and winemaking, and he has an impressive client list in Europe as well as a few notable vineyards and wineries in Oregon and Sonoma County.
Already, Pierre has helped to advise us on cover crops to discourage invasive weeds, encourage beneficial insects, and to help bring the soil alive and for the vines to thrive.
The practice of biodynamic agriculture was developed by Rudlof Stiener (founder of the Waldorf Schools) and is promoted internationally by the Demeter Association, which handles certification for these techniques.
Through holistic practices, biodynamic farming treats the vineyard like a living organism, not just plants rooted in the dirt. By working with the soil to bring out its natural terroir, the wine produced from the vineyard will have more character and nuance. Pierre’s advice in the winemaking will help to promote the subtleties acquired from the vineyard, to produce a truly unique and excellent wine.
Pierre’s first visit to the vineyard was in December 2019. He declared it excellent, with rocky volcanic soils found in the likes of Oregon’s best Pinot Noir regions. He was pleased with the wine in barrel produced by winemaker Adrian Manspeaker from Joseph Jewell wines, and said that although the first vintage was impressive, future vintages should indeed be superior.
We look forward to this new partnership with Pierre, and to many tasty future vintages!
Pierre Millemann is pictured here on the right, with winemaker Adrian Manspeaker on the left.
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