Okay, so it’s not exactly Tolkien-Jacksononian, but, nonetheless, Spring has indeed returned:
2013 Chardonnay – coming soon(ish) to a bottle near you….
Spring always seems to surprise me. Seems like it’s cold/rainy/dark/miserable and then- uh oh! Time to check how budbreak is going! Time to start tracking heat. Time to start the estimation game – ‘when will harvest start?’ Current trend-by the way – is early. But we’ve got a long way to go…
It’s also a time of reflection. Of amazement (oh stop laughing all you cynics out there who know me) that it’s all going to happen again. I’ve grown up around grapes my whole life and I have many friends who are in the business, but still-it’s not exactly normal, is it, this business of grape rustling?
So we’re lucky. Lucky to be involved in such a neat business, lucky that we get to enjoy a journey through terroir every year. It’s a good time to think on how to make sure that the luck continues onward in the vintages to come.
That’s right. I’m going to talk about….sustainability!
It’s an okay word….except it’s maybe just a bit overused: http://xkcd.com/1007/
With so much use, it could be confusing-what does sustainability mean?
Well, for us, for starters, we’re members of the LIVE program. It’s mission:
“LIVE aims to preserve human and natural resources in the wine industry of the Pacific Northwest. We accomplish this through internationally-recognized third-party certification of collaborative science-based winegrowing standards of Integrated Production.”
We’ve been certified as a vineyard since 2009. It’s a program that has 3rd party certification, but also flexibility for each unique participant. We like that it’s a commonly agreed upon program that easily allows us to communicate to everyone quickly what our ideas and practices are.
Okay, so we’ve figured out some day-to-day actions, but what does it really matter? Is sustainability still just a word? A belief? A marketing slogan?
As is often the case for Oregon, a guiding light can be found in-you guessed it-Burgundy. According to the arbiter of all knowledge, Wikipedia, the Cistercian monks created Clos de Vougeot, the largest walled vineyard in Burgundy, in 1336. Why? Well, my first guess is that it was to keep those pesky deer out. But, more likely, it was because the Cistercians saw that it had a unique Terroir – and wanted to preserve and delineate this unique vinous expression.
And that’s where sustainability leads me. It would be a tragedy if here we are, discovering unique new Oregon Terroirs, finding out their places, their vines, their expressions – only to have them lost. The Burgundians have been preserving – sustaining, if you will – their Terroir for thousands of years. Here in Oregon we’ve only just begun to discover our Terroir for less than 50 – but it’s never too early to plan for the future. We need to do what it takes to preserve those discoveries.
It’s my hope that many, many, many years from now, vines will still cover the hillsides of Dion Vineyard. I don’t know that it will be still called by that name. I’m fairly certain – barring some awesome sci-fi technology breakthrough – that it won’t be me tasked with watching over those vines. I merely hope that those future generations still enjoy the unique expression of wine that we are discovering.
That, to me, is sustainability.
In the meantime….bring on the 2013’s!