Stephen Hagen and Andrew Smith are my guests on this episode, and we’re talking about Antiquum Farm in Oregon. Antiquum is Stephen’s family farm where Andrew runs the cellar, and where they practice Grazing-Based Viticulture, or what Stephen calls Joy Based Agriculture, and I believe he’s doing for grape farming what Joel Salatin has done for regular farming. Antiquum is a vineyard ecosystem specifically designed to enable nearly year-round high-intensity managed grazing of kune kune pigs, sheep, geese, chickens and ducks in the vineyard, though not necessarily in that order. Stephen describes in detail the infrastructure, practical considerations, animal breeds, resources, and much much more that is necessary to make this system work and to make it possible to produce wine that is 100% true to place.
This is a must-listen for anyone considering maintaining a year-round herd and incorporating them in the vineyard, or for anyone who just wants to hear an example of some incredible, earth-first agriculture and how that impacts the wine that comes from it.
This ecosystem requires zero outside inputs for fertility. This closed loop holistic farm continually increases the distinctiveness and richness of the soil microbiome which has had dramatic effects on the grapes’ morphology, chemistry, and flavor. If you really believe in terroir, Stephen and Andrew have taken this concept to such an extreme that I think it redefines terroir. This is such a compelling perspective that I think it challenges a majority of the claims to terroir in the wine world.
If you want to be inspired by what could be possible for the future of wine, or if you want to save 15 years of trial and error in grazing-based viticulture, prepare for a 20 terabit download. And don’t be surprised if you start hearing the name Antiquum – however you pronounce it – a lot more often.