I'm glad I got the "who are we to write this blog"...out of the way...in an earlier blog post.
Why?..because...honestly that inspired me to have a bit of courage...enough to be able to follow through on this kooky blog idea...and schedule visits with legends in the world of biodynamic viticulture in the Willamette Valley.
Today...we are scheduled to meet with Barbara Gross...the daughter of Dr. Robert Gross who started Cooper Mountain Vineyards forty years ago!
In 1999...Cooper Mountain became...Demeter Certified Biodynamic.
To put this into perspective...Cooper was the first certified biodynamic vineyard...not just in the Willamette Valley...or even in Oregon...but in the ENITRE Pacific North West.
Pause and think about that for a moment!
I don't know about you...but...I'm SO inspired by that...and highly curious to find out how that all came about...and that's a big part of why we're visiting today.
As we pull up to the welcoming tasting room...on the property where Barbara grew up...it's apparent that the vineyard was here long before the community surrounding the property.
We're only ten short miles from downtown Portland...and yet I'd never guess that doing a quick 360 as we walk up to the tasting room.
Jean and I are warmly greeted by Barbara just inside the tasting room. It's 11 am and it's obvious there's a lot going on preparing for the day.
I must say...I'm fascinated by business...and cherish the opportunities where I have a chance to get an insiders view into an industry...with which I am NOT familiar. This is one of those prescious moments for me.
We settle into a lovely table nestled under towering shade trees...and lovely small talk quickly turns into mind-expanding BIG talk very fast!
Barbara's passion for our environment is immediately evident. Jean and I LOVE learning about "why" biodynamic was chosen...and the back story always intrigues us.
As Barbara shares the fascinating story about her father, Dr. Robert Gross...that winds and twists over four decades...she helped me to clarify...there are three main pathways...most people take...leading into the world of biodynamics.
For Jean and me...it's clearly...for health.
We drive up to the farmer's market in Boulder, Co...most Saturdays...and often on Wednesdays too...to buy from Aspen Moon Biodynamic Farm.
For us, there is a discernible difference between Aspen Moon's salad greens, for example, and certified organic salad greens we can buy closer to home.
For Dr. Gross... his choice was ultimately fueled by reasons attributed to health.
Barbara...it's clear to me... it's her passion for our environment...and for the future of our species.
Looking back on our visit at Montinore with Rudy Marchesi...his connection was...initially the high- quality biodynamic wines he was tasting from Burgandy...when he worked as a buyer for a wine distribution company.
While Jean and I are fascinated by everyone's stories...Barbara makes it clear...she doesn't care "how" people come to biodynamics...as long as they get there!
There is a sense of urgency in everything that she shares...that is far beyond a passion for a seemingly esoteric way to tend to her five vineyards.
I think the three of us are in complete agreement that we are at a tipping point in our evolution as a species. This is a critical time...and the survival of our species...has never been more delicately perched in the dangle.
Biodynamic agricultural practices include the best possible solution for our health and well-being...for the health and well-being of our precious natural resources...as well as for producing high-quality wines.
I love that in biodynamic farming...the means do not only justify the end...but the entire process is conducted with honor and respect for each element involved...the soil, the water table, the workers in the fields and in the cellars, AND the consumer.
I don't know about you...but this is a model of doing business in a way that is not only practical and logical...but has both the short and long view...balanced in terms of importance.
Jean and I are blessed to have access to the Boulder Wine Merchant...an awesome wine shop where Cooper Mountain Biodynamic wines are available...and we're impressed that Barbara actually knows the wine buyer!
We hope that our blog in some way...brings about greater awareness of biodynamic wines...leading to greater availability of biodynamic wines...everywhere wine is sold.
The next time you visit your favorite wine shop...ask if they carry Cooper Mountain wines.
And if they don't...I'm highly confident they will be happy to place a special order for you. And you don't have to order an entire case.
As we write this...Jean and I are sitting at an amazing riverside cafe...an hour or so after our visit with Barbara.
We're trying to focus our thoughts...and put some of our visit with Barbara...into words that might inspire you to take action.
Which if you think about...involves drinking AMAZING quality wine!
We could easily write several posts from this one visit with Barbara at Cooper Mountain...and we certainly will share more as we continue to digest everything we talked about.
We are both deeply touched by Barbara's passion...her generosity of spirit...how involved she is OUTSIDE of her five vineyards...giving in so many ways that it's hard to imagine...this is the life of just ONE young woman.
My perspective has shifted from...who are we to write this blog...to a sense of responsibility to share with the world...what we have learned about biodynamics...and more specifically...what we have and continue to learn about biodynamic wine...and how it's grown and made...here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.
We both have been so busy these last three or more years...that we haven't had a proper holiday in a very long time.
We certainly could have simply set off on a three week holiday in the Willamette Valley and visited each of the biodynamic tasting rooms...and had a blissful, private experience.
And yet...we're both SO passionate about biodynamics...that we figured...if WE didn't know about what's happening in biodynamic viticulture in the Willamette Valley...we're highly confident there are a LOT of people who are also highly interested in leading a wholistic and organic life...who are NOT aware of this significant, quiet, peaceful, collaborate movement!
We both feel a sense of responsibility to share our experience...and what we are learning on each visit...with every who might be interested.
SO...thank you for your interest in learning more about how you can incorporate the vast benefits of choosing biodynamic agriculture and viticulture into your everyday life.
I view choosing to invest in biodynamic produce and wines...as part of my health assurance plan.
Sure biodynamics can be viewed as a bit more expensive than conventional produce and wine...and it certainly should be.
There are additional certification expenses biodynamic growers pay...that conventional growers do not.
Think of the cost of illness and dis-ease and time away from work, family and friends, making doctor visits, having operations, and hospital stays.
Not to mention...just feeling lousy all the time...That's a high price to pay for trying to save a few dollars in the grocery store.
I'm all about the quality of life...and that's what biodynamics seems to me...to be all about....for humans...for the soil, the plants and everything in entire eco-system...front to back...top to bottom. Literally every way you can look at it!
I am SO grateful that our EPIC Willamette Valley Biodynamic wine adventure continues...