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Nine miles from the ocean, in a saddle between two ridge tops sits Porter-Bass Vineyard & Winery. The Russian River gently forms an oxbow around these ridges allowing the fog to drift to the foot of the vineyard, cooling the vines in the summer. The forest of Redwood and Fir that surrounds the vineyard protects the vines from strong winds and contamination from other vineyards. Being on the western edge of the Russian River Valley provides an ideal climate for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Zinfandel. This cool climate makes fruit that is naturally high in acid, at the same time the sugars stay low enough to make a balanced wine that ages gracefully.
In 1980 we found this run-down, century-old, Palomino and Zinfandel vineyard and began the slow arduous process of reviving the Zinfandel and replanting the Palomino. Decades of farming-induced erosion had left the soil with only the sustenance for growing poison oak and blackberries. We began replanting in 1980 and by 1984 we had replanted most of the 17 acres to Chardonnay and Zinfandel, keeping those Zinfandel vines that were healthy.
In 2000 we began replanting some of the blocks that had developed terminal virus. By using closer vine spacing, changing row direction to north/ south and carefully selecting rootstocks and varietal clones we get vines more in balance with their environment.
In Biodynamic farming we concern ourselves not only with the crops that we sell but with the whole health of the ecosystem. Done correctly our farming makes the land ever more vibrant and vital. This represents a complete departure from the paradigm of conventional farming. Conventional and Organic farming are driven by economic principles. If high levels of inputs (fertilizer, herbicide, petroleum fuel, etc…) are necessary to achieve the desired production the primary concern is that the practice is profitable. On the other hand a Biodynamic farm strives to be a self-sustaining entity creating healthy outputs with minimal or no inputs other than labor. To minimize our inputs we need to keep our farm entity strong. Balance is needed among the three farm components: the plant (etheric), the animal (astral) and the human (ego). In nature there is a balance between plants and animals. Many farms tend to upset this balance by emphasizing one plant or one animal and in time this imbalance can lead to sick animals or weak plants. By using Biodynamic practices a true expression of place is found in the wine. The vineyard is Demeter certified Biodynamic.
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