Before we celebrate the red, white and blue this weekend, let’s take a quick look at three wineries that take “green” winegrowing seriously — Cuvaison, Marimar Estate and Quivira…
- CUVAISON — The Cuvaison winery was established in 1969 on the Napa Valley side of the Carneros growing region.
Dedicated to a philosophy of producing vineyard-driven wines, Cuvaison employs block-by-block farming methods and a hand-crafted, vineyard-to-bottle winemaking approach. The resulting wines are balanced and complex, showcasing the distinctive characteristics of this cool climate estate.
“At Cuvaison, we are compelled to reduce our winery’s impact on the environment,” says President Jay Schuppert. “Going solar and being certified Napa Green are only a few initiatives which support what we are trying to achieve. Because there is a shared concern from the staff as well, we turn to our organization and grassroots networks with our staff, their families and friends to find ways of creating change from within.”
- MARIMAR ESTATE — “After experimenting for several years with a few blocks of vines, in 2003 we decided to make the jump to the entire vineyard,” says Marimar Estate Vineyards & Winery founder Marimar Torres.
“The whole idea is to create an ideal balance between the vines and nature. The vineyard will be ecologically healthier, and the grapes of higher quality. That’s our long-term reward.”
Torres adds that she is excited about taking the next step. “Now that our vineyards are certified organic, we are moving into biodynamics,” she says. “This is really a step up from organic viticulture, where the approach is to see the vineyard as an ecological whole; not just rows of grapevines, but the soil beneath them — an organism in its own right — and the other flora and fauna in the area, growing together interdependently. To enhance biodiversity, ‘compost teas,’ prepared from special herbs, are also sprayed in minute quantities.
“Biodynamics is a leap of faith; it’s impossible to quantify the success of the practices. But we firmly believe that our wines have become more reflective of their terroir, rounder, and more ‘stand-alone’ since we became organic.”
- QUIVIRA — Biodynamic farming is embraced by the owners and stewards of Quivira Vineyards and Winery in Healdsburg (Sonoma County), California.
The core of biodynamics involves creating the healthiest soil possible. Following this farming discipline, the soil in Quivira’s vineyards is closely (bordering on obsessively) monitored, ensuring that it is teeming with natural, healthy microbiotic life.
Balance is essential; if something is taken out, something is put back in. Quivira feeds the microbiotic life with natural, time-tested techniques.
As a winery spokesperson tells us, “Everything done in the vineyards is a testament to the fact that the earth under our feet is just as alive as the vines above ground.”