Wine farms – A new trend in grape growing

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You’re likely familiar with organic farming, and might even know about biodynamic farming, but Stephen Hagen, farmer of Antiquum Farm, does neither.

Instead, he practices a technique he calls Grazing-Based Viticulture, incorporating a variety of rotating livestock to help manage his crops and provide nutrients for the vines. The result? Wines with a true sense of terroir and land that is responding generously, Hagen says.

He’s obsessed with growing the best wines possible. “My wines are not made, they are grown cluster by cluster, with my own hands. They are a marriage of place, its people, and a moment in time,” he said.

When asked about biodynamic farming, Hagen replied honestly. “I’m not a joiner or team player; I despise recipes and checklists, and I think that certification lists come to the detriment of creativity and innovation. I want to think for myself and work from my gut. I call our method, grazing-based viticulture.” It’s basically agriculture from before the ease of fertilizers and easy mechanization, a method that saves about 12 tractor passes per year. It’s biodynamics with a curmudgeonly old-school twist. “We take the sheep poop and specificity and leave the moon and stars to wiser people.”

“I think biodynamics are awesome and I deeply admire the commitment to something deeper and more meaningful for anyone moving in that direction. We’re all on the same team. Any farming method that makes a farmer have a more intimate connection to their place is a very positive step,” he added.

But he also wants to keep the conversation going and continue to think critically. One of the things he loves about grazing-based viticulture is…

Read the complete story here on WinePress NW.

Saké & Cheese: Japanese rice spirit meets its mmmatch

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For many American consumers, saké suggests a certain mystique. Although it’s often referred to as “rice wine,” it’s really not wine. Nor it is cider or beer. So, what exactly is it?

Saké is an ancient alcoholic beverage made by fermenting rice. Unlike grapes made into wine by the fermentation of fruit sugar, the rice’s starch is converted into sugar and then fermented into alcohol. While the process relates more to brewing beer, saké sommelier Miyuki Yoshida emphatically states, “Saké is a category on its own. Saké is saké!”

According to SakéOne’s associate brand manager, Jessie Sheeran, “Saké is killing it in U.S. markets. It’s kosher, sulfite-free, vegan-friendly, gluten-free and histamine-free, so it checks a lot of healthy boxes.” Ranging from the clear and bright Gingo to the sweeter, cloudy Nigiri, saké’s variety comes from the polishing of the rice. More polish — removing impurities, proteins, etc. — results in fragrant, fruity, elegant aromas.

“There is a challenge of getting people to understand what saké is and what it isn’t,” says SakéOne president Steve Vuylsteke. It’s not all from Japan; it’s not only consumed with Japanese food, and it’s not only drunk cold.” He suggests trying it with salumi or chorizo, or even grilled cheese.

Read the complete story here on Oregon Wine Press.