Organic Wine Podcast
Mark Shepard - Restoration Agriculture & Growing GrapeVines In Trees

Mark Shepard - Restoration Agriculture & Growing GrapeVines In Trees

November 21, 2022

My guest for this episode is Mark Shepard. I’m so excited to share this conversation with you because Mark has a perspective on viticulture and agriculture in general that is revolutionary… while also being incredibly common sensical. He’s as funny as he is passionate and that passion comes from wanting to share an incredibly important message not only for producing wine, but also for our survival.

Mark is the author of Restoration Agriculture which is a top 10 Amazon best seller in multiple categories. Restoration agriculture is his term for ecomimicry permaculture or multi-story perennial polyculture using what thrives naturally in your ecosystems. He practices this at scale on his 110 acre New Forest Farm in Wisconsin, and on several other properties, and he provides agricultural consulting around the planet.

One of the quotes from his book that stood out to me is when he is talking about our conventional, monoculture approach, and says, “We have created the conditions under which pests and diseases thrive, while almost completely ceasing the improvement of the crops’ own resistance to the threats we have created.”

This is so true in wine, where we have a global monoculture of a handful of European grapes that have been propagated by cloning for two hundred years or more. And in the last 50 years we’ve spent literally billions of dollars developing chemicals to enable these clones to survive, while investing very little in breeding new varieties that don’t need the chemicals… or in expanding the idea of wine to include other ingredients besides European grapes.

Mark doesn’t spray his fruit, whether it’s apples or cherries or chestnuts or grapevines, he employs a kind of vitiforestry, and his approach to agriculture illuminates some incredible perspective shifts in how we could think about growing grapevines differently… as well as how we could think about wine differently… as one symbiotic element in a holistic perennial polyculture.

Support the Organic Wine Podcast:

https://www.patreon.com/organicwinepodcast

Sponsor:

https://www.centralaswine.com/

Why Wine Is Important - Special Episode

Why Wine Is Important - Special Episode

November 14, 2022

This is episode is something a little different, and it’s sponsored by Centralas Wine. Centralas is my winery and the first chapter  of this two chapter episode is a recording I made while driving around los angeles, as we angelenos are wont to do, so I apologize for the quality. But the content is pretty fun. The context is that I’ve stopped listing grape varieties on the labels for the wines I make and sell through Centralas. Since I made that decision, I’ve become hyper aware of how important grape varieties have become as handles that we think we need to understand a wine. It is literally the first thing people ask when I present one of our wines. This has led to some pretty interesting discussions and even debates. But Rather than make me think I made a mistake in not listing varieties, I’m more committed than ever to being the lone voice, if need be, calling for an end to our varietal obsession. I’m actually pretty convinced we’ve all been brain-washed by the global capitalist monoculture into thinking that knowing the variety of grape is necessary to understand a wine. So there you go… that should set up Chapter one as a fun and somewhat funny take on varietal labeling.

And chapter two, while very different, is very symbiotic. It’s called Why Wine is Important, and I think you’ll be a bit surprised at the answer I give, because I try to answer that question from a different perspective so to speak. And that perspective is really the same perspective that chapter one comes from. I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll leave it at that.

Support the Organic Wine Podcast:

https://www.patreon.com/organicwinepodcast

Episode Sponsor:

https://www.centralaswine.com/

Paul Dolan - A Conversation About Regenerative Organic Wine

Paul Dolan - A Conversation About Regenerative Organic Wine

October 31, 2022

My guest for this episode is Paul Dolan.

Paul Dolan has always been a pioneer leading the industry towards a more sustainable future.  While a winemaker and then president at Fetzer, Paul proved to the California wine industry that wineries and grape growers can preserve and enhance their environment, strengthen their communities, and enrich the lives of their employees without sacrificing the bottom line.  He introduced Bonterra, the first nationally distributed wine made with 100 percent organic grapes, placing Fetzer at the forefront of organic viticulture.  Paul’s experiences at Fetzer led him to publish “True to Our Roots- Fermenting a Business Revolution” that set forth the simple but powerful management principles that enabled Fetzer to become one of America’s best- known wineries and an exemplar of sustainable business practices.

Through his leadership at the California Wine Institute, Paul introduced the Code of Sustainable Wine Growing and chaired the Institute from 2006 – 2007.  He also served on President Clinton’s Council on Sustainability, Businesses for Social Responsibility, and The Climate Group, was Chairman of the California Sustainable Winegrowers Alliance, and received the Environmental Business Leader of the Year Award from the California Planning and Conservation League in 2006.

Paul has become a spokesman for and practitioner of regenerative winegrowing. He serves on the board of the Regenerative Organic Alliance, and farms his family-owned Dark Horse Ranch as a multi-faceted certified Biodynamic® vineyard and regenerative farm, and is a founding partner of Truett-Hurst Winery. He is constantly seeking to enhance his understanding of the restorative capacity of the soil and the farm, and its relationship to the restoration of the health of the planet’s ecosystems. 

Sponsor:

https://www.centralaswine.com/

 

 

 

Adam Huss - Centralas Wine, Crenshaw Cru, and the Organic Wine Podcast

Adam Huss - Centralas Wine, Crenshaw Cru, and the Organic Wine Podcast

October 10, 2022

Guest Interviewer Chiara Shannon (@theyogisommelier www.theyogisommelier.com) interviews the creator and producer of the Organic Wine Podcast, Adam Huss. Adam talks about what he is doing with wine and vines in South Los Angeles with his winery Crenshaw Cru and his estate urban polyculture winegarden Crenshaw Cru.

Some of the things that we talk about include: how viticulture is actually a form of agroforestry, how my urban polyculture winegarden known as Crenshaw Cru embodies a vision for the future of wine, how embracing local indigenous fruit can grow a diverse, resilient, and colorful wine culture, how human culture is part of your vineyard, and how all of this results from the revolutionary ecological approach to wine that makes our current wine culture seem completely backwards.

https://www.centralaswine.com/

RAS Wines - Sparkling Wine from Maine Wild Blueberries

RAS Wines - Sparkling Wine from Maine Wild Blueberries

October 3, 2022

In this episode I get to talk to the co-founders and winemakers for RAS Wines - Dan Roche, Joe Appel and Emily Smith.

Dan, Joe, and Emily make a dry sparkling wine from Maine wild blueberries, and we talk about some of the incredible aspects of this unique wine culture.

Maine wild blueberries are one of the few fruits indigenous to and perfectly suited to the challenging terroir of Maine. Even though they occur naturally – thus the “wild” aspect – they are actively tended as a commercial crop. I’m fascinated by this kind of agriculture which shows a way that we humans can integrate with natural ecosystems and be instrumental to their health and vitality, while also using them to support our own health and survival.

Working with and selling wine made from a fruit that isn’t grapes and for which consumers have many preconceptions, has given Dan, Joe, and Emily some profound insights into wine in general. They want us to ask ourselves: Is what we think we know about wine actually limiting our experience of it? They have realized how much we need to unlearn, and are part of a domestic wine scene that is locally based, resourceful, creative, as diverse as the land they make wine from, and the most exciting part of wine today, I think.

As they say, we don’t expect wine made from Cabernet Franc to taste like a grape, so why do we have different expectations for blueberries?

I’m excited to share these winemakers with you and the unique world of Maine wild blueberries that they are helping to share through their wine.

https://raswines.com/

Sponsor:

https://www.centralaswine.com/

Kelly Mulville - Regenerative Grazing-Based Viticulture at Paicines Ranch

Kelly Mulville - Regenerative Grazing-Based Viticulture at Paicines Ranch

September 26, 2022

Kelly Mulville’s life has been guided by an awe and respect for the natural world and a deep appreciation for its beauty. This led him to want to learn how to farm in a way that protected or enhanced the natural world, and made him a better listener and observer of what made ecosystems work. Through his years of farming he has attempted to answer the question of how we can turn agriculture from one of the most destructive forces on the planet into the method we can use to repair that damage and restore biodiversity and health to ecosystems?

Kelly’s journey has led him to test various kinds of grazing-based viticulture in many contexts throughout the west and south-west US, and to ultimately build a vineyard system that incorporates animals year round in central California at Paicines Ranch. The work he is doing is laying the foundation for what I think will be the future of viticulture, and Kelly lays out the vision and principles that guide it.

Kelly is working with vinifera that he basically doesn’t have to spray because of the system he has implemented and his attention to soil health, biodiversity, and amazing new findings around SAP brix analysis that is revolutionizing our understanding of how we can prevent insect pest issues. We get into the details of the Watson trellising system he uses now to create a kind of vine forest rather than a vineyard, as well as how to potentially integrate sheep year round into an existing VSP trellis system, ground squirrel management, the ecology of birds in viticultural and agricultural systems, and the amazing return of an endangered species for which his vineyard is helping to provide desirable habitat.

If you haven’t heard of Kelly Mulville, or the work he’s doing at Paicines Ranch, this is potentially revolutionary stuff. I could not be more impressed with Kelly’s humble, passionate, and compassionate approach to viticulture. He grounds everything he does in science and real, detailed data, because he sees everything he has accomplished so far as just the beginning, and he wants others to be able to learn from and build upon this work to do even better.

https://paicinesranch.com/

Sponsor:

https://www.centralaswine.com/

Nicole Dooling & Michael Frey - Dirt & Mariah Vineyards, The World’s First Savory Institute Global Land To Market Verified Regenerative Vineyard

Nicole Dooling & Michael Frey - Dirt & Mariah Vineyards, The World’s First Savory Institute Global Land To Market Verified Regenerative Vineyard

September 19, 2022

My guests for this episode are Nicole Dooling and Michael Frey. Nicole and Michael helped transition Nicole’s parents’ mountain top vineyard in Medocino into the first ever Savory Institute Global Land To Market Verified regenerative vineyard in the world. We talk in depth about the Land to Market cerification, which is results based, rather than process based like most other certifications, and takes most of the work of certification off the farmer’s to do list. And we talk about Nicole and Michael helped convince her parents, the Doolings, to make this transition after 40 years of pouring their hearts and souls into Mariah Vineyards, with a lot of respect and commitment to the economic as well as the ecological success of the farm. This generational transition and how to navigate it is vital to regenerative agriculture, and this conversation has some amazing insights into it.

There are some important new ideas including how to be regenerative as a winemaker or consumer even if you don’t do any farming personally, perspective shifts about transitioning to a nature based style of farming that may have a slightly more wild and messy aesthetic, and we mention several great resources mentioned for everyone interested in learning or doing more. And Nicole and Michael leave us with a challenge that if you claim to be regenerative, then show it with quantified results.

https://mariahvineyards.com/

Sponsor:

https://www.centralaswine.com/

Justine Belle Lambright - Kalche Wine Worker Cooperative Making Hybrid Space Juice

Justine Belle Lambright - Kalche Wine Worker Cooperative Making Hybrid Space Juice

September 12, 2022

My guest for this episode is Justine Belle Lambright of Kalche Wine. Together with Kathline Chery and Grace Meyer, Justine has founded Kalche as a worker cooperative. If you’re wondering what it would mean for a winery to be built as a worker owned business, that’s exactly what we talk about in this episode.

Justine goes into detail about what is involved in setting up and running a winery as a worker cooperative. Because of the hard work they have already put in with their co-owners, Justine is able to give us almost a step-by-step how-to that includes many of the strengths and weaknesses, challenges and opportunities, as well as giving some great reasons why you might want to do this as well.

If you’re sick of Big Wine, if you envision a more equitable way of running a winery, if you want a business that is run democratically, if you want to think of people as humans rather than as human resources, if you think business should serve human needs rather than the other way around, then this conversation is for you.  Justine not only breaks down the details of how we might go about setting up our own worker cooperative, they also offer further resources and lifelines to provide practical help and information to anyone actually undertaking this kind of human-centered business building.

And we talk about Kalche’s Hybrid Space Juice and make a strong case for why American hybrid grapes need to be included in the mainstream of the wine current wherever it’s coming from.

Justine reads a poem, we meditate on death and consider a cosmic perspective on ourselves, and generally have a really fun, informative conversation.

https://www.kalchewine.co/

Sponsor:

https://www.centralaswine.com/

Part 2 - How To Make Clean, Delicious Natural Wine

Part 2 - How To Make Clean, Delicious Natural Wine

September 9, 2022

Thank you to everyone who responded to the first episode about how to make clean, delicious natural wine. Your feedback was both encouraging and helpful. It became clear that there was a desire for this kind of information, and that there were things I needed to further explain from part 1. 

This is a technical, detailed explanation of some of the important aspects of making wine naturally. If you haven't listened to part 1, this one will make a lot more sense if you do. Included in this part 2 episode are further discussions of optimal temperature and pH ranges for fermentation, everything you wanted to know about racking wine - when, how, how often, and why - and a comprehensive discussion of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in wine and how to avoid and manage it, and many other aspects of natural winemaking. 

Enjoy!

Sponsor:

https://www.centralaswine.com/

Anne Biklé & David R. Montgomery - How To Heal Our Soil, Improve Our Wine, and Save Ourselves

Anne Biklé & David R. Montgomery - How To Heal Our Soil, Improve Our Wine, and Save Ourselves

August 29, 2022

For this episode I have the pleasure of talking with two of my favorite authors on soil and our utter dependence on it, Anne Biklé and David R. Montgomery

 

David R. Montgomery is a MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington.  He is an internationally recognized geologist who studies the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies.  His work has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news, TV, and radio including NOVA, PBS NewsHour, Fox and Friends, and All Things Considered. 

 

Anne Biklé is a science writer and public speaker focusing on the connections between people, plants, food, health, and the environment.  She has been known to coax garden plants into rambunctious growth and nurse them back from the edge of death with her regenerative gardening practices.  Her work has appeared in digital and print magazines, newspapers, and radio and her gardening practices have been featured in independent and documentary films. 

 

Anne and David are married and live in Seattle, WA.  Their work includes What Your Food Ate: How to Heal Our Land and Reclaim Our Health, and a trilogy of books about soil health, microbiomes, and farming—Dirt: The Erosion of CivilizationsThe Hidden Half of Nature, and Growing a Revolution.

 

These books are not only about soil but about agriculture, our food system, human health and survival and the climate… and, perhaps shockingly, they provide ample evidence for a way forward that provides solutions to the problems we face in all of these areas… dare I say they provide hope? And, even more importantly, he says sarcastically, they provide ample evidence for how to farm grapes in a better way to make more delicious wine.

www.Dig2Grow.com 

Sponsor:

https://www.centralaswine.com/

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