Today is Day 12 of our 12 Days of Wine Celebration! (This is the last day y’all! Happy Holidays!)
This year, we are focusing on Discovering Wines for the Future. These are wineries and vineyards that are doing the work, in their own way, to be sure we have a long, healthy future on our planet in which to enjoy wine!
These vineyards are farming the soil, creating healthy environments with biodynamic and regenerative methods. This generates biodiversity, sequesters carbon, and, in turn, makes delicious wine.
Many of these vineyards and wineries will be on the West Coast of the US, but we’ve included a few from Italy and one from Argentina. There are many more out there, and we encourage you to seek them out! But we will get you started with a few of our favorites!
Grab a glass and celebrate with us!
(Scroll to the bottom for our video!)
Troon Vineyard & Craig Camp
I learned about Troon through Craig Camp, their General Manager. Craig came to work at Troon when the property changed hands from Dick Troon to Dr. Bryan White and his wife, Denise. They brought Craig in. Before that, Craig had spent 3 decades working in many aspects of the wine industry.
Craig has a radio voice. He is thoughtful, educated, and passionate about this beautiful vineyard. Craig stays active not only at Troon but also with the Applegate Valley Vintners Association, Oregon Winegrowers Association, and the Rhône Rangers. He also hosts the Troon Talk Podcast Series on Wine Camp, where they discuss all the details of being a regenerative farm.
Of course, Craig doesn’t work in a vacuum. He has a team of people working with him to make this place and the wines so special.
The Kubli Bench in Southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley AVA
Troon lies in Southern Oregon in the Applegate Valley AVA, nested inside the Rogue Valley AVA. This area is just north of the California state border and is defined by the Applegate River.
Within this AVA, Troon sits at the center on the Kubli Bench above the Applegate River, with views of the Siskiyou Mountains.
Craig speaks of this as a transitional zone between the California and Willamette Valley climates. The area is recognized as a biologically diverse region, with over 3,500 plant species. Part of this comes from being a transitional zone. It is the northernmost region for many California species and the southernmost for many Cascade species, so you have an overlap.
(you can find more details here https://soda.sou.edu/bioregion/index.html)
Why are the wines of Troon Vineyard wines of the future?
When Craig came to Troon, the vineyard had been farmed conventionally and was dealing with red blotch disease.
They chose biodynamic agriculture as a way of replenishing the life in the soil. They have been on this path since 2017, that’s just 5 years, and the difference is extraordinary. The property is thriving.
The soil life is increasing as they add biodiversity to the property and farm the soil! They are feeding a natural system. The sheep graze as they fertilize and aerate the soil. The chickens come behind them to finish off any pests. The cover crops thrive, putting nitrogen into the soil. The tilling is minimal as the property moves to no-till, so the carbon is sequestered in the soil.
They move closer and closer to a vibrant closed system.
How is Troon Vineyard making the future better?
While they knew they would need to replace the vines, they did not wait to make the adjustments to farming methods. This gave the current vines a fighting chance until they could be replaced.
They began with composting and the biodynamic preparations. They integrated cover crop, which is now almost completely turned to permaculture as they minimize tilling. They have added diverse gardens for the preparations and native plants, a vegetable garden, and a food forest with trees, bushes, and plants.
They have a flock of sheep that graze in the vineyard and a mobile chicken coop so that the birds can do follow-up cleaning.
They have a vermiculture bin where they raise worms. In addition, they are planting apple trees, from which they will eventually make cider.
They are certified biodynamic and were just the 2nd vineyard in the world to be Regenerative Organic Certified. They also received a Slow Food Snail Prize.
They have owl boxes in the vineyard, which naturally helps with rodent control. They have bee boxes for bee rewilding and beneficial insect hotels to encourage the good bugs to hang around!
You will also find a beautiful demonstration garden for the plants used in the biodynamic preparations. It is a beautiful place to stroll and learn about these plants and their uses.
The produce from their gardens and food forest is offered for sale in their farm stand during the summer, as well as locally made vinegar from their wine!
Oh, and did I mention the EV Charging Station?
There is so much in the way of good stuff going on here. I could go on, but you get the idea.
The wines of Troon Vineyard
Where to begin? At Troon Vineyard they primarily focus on Rhône varieties, but some Italian varieties and others are thrown in. I am fond of their Vermentino, Druid Blends in Red and White, and orange wines. Really, I enjoy everything here. But what really makes me swoon are their Piquettes. Yes, it is not really a wine per se, but one of those reduce/reuse/recycle projects that happens to be light and tasty. If you enjoy something fizzy and lighter in alcohol, this carefree beverage might be right up your alley. While growing in popularity, this “frugal farmer fizz” is still rare.
Piquette is made by adding water to the skins and any juice left over after pressing grapes for wine. It’s kind of a second pressing. It is bottled before the fermentation is complete, so it is finished inside the bottle, which gives it its fizz.
They also sometimes make a “fizzante,” their name for an ancestral method sparkling wine. The grapes are dependet on the vintage, and they don’t alwasy make it, but I loved their Troon Fizzante Metodo Ancestral 2020! (so much that it was included as one of the wines in our first “Tempting Spoonfuls” book!
Here is a link to the Troon Vineyard website
Here is a link to the Troon Talk Podcasts
Here are a couple of the articles we have written about Troon
- Biodynamics and Troon Vineyard on Discovering Wine Country Season 1
- Oregon Wine & Biodynamics with Troon and Winderlea
Our recent trip highlights can be found in
Troon Vineyard is one of the vineyards we will be featuring in our Documentary “Can Wine Save the Planet?” We look forward to spending time with them over the next year to see their practices in action and share with you their story.
They are working on an herb garden in the shape of a triskele, the Druidic symbol used as the logo for the winery. When we visited Garett Long their Director of Agriculture, was embarrassed by the big empty spot of barren soil. He quickly explained that they were getting ready to plant this garden. Since then, I am very aware of barren soil, something I had not noticed before. (Thanks Garett you are making me more aware and in tune with the earth around me!)
I look forward to watching the Food Forest grow and the apple trees for the cider!
You can follow the project at CanWineSavethePlanet.com, where we will have plenty of extras with in-depth interviews and educational videos on these farming methods. You can only fit so much in a documentary, and there is so much to tell! We don’t want you to miss anything! Head over there and follow us for great content as we are filming!
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine and WSET 3 Certified. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.
Check out our book series, “Tempting Spoonfuls” available through Amazon!
Inspired by the flavors and aromas in wines, these books create “tempting spoonfuls” of flavors to pair with wines.
“Tempting Spoonfuls – Pairing single bites with glorious wines” – Our first book paired wines from boutique wineries on the west coast, in California, Oregon, and Washington, with delicious spoonfuls.
This book is 60 pages, 18 recipes, lots of beautiful photos, and insights into some fantastic small wineries!
“Tempting Spoonfuls – small bites paired with wines from around the Globe” – This book takes us around the globe to explore 12 wine regions, a wine from the region, and then gives you a recipe for a pairing!
A slightly larger book at 104 pages, this time you learn about pairing with a type of wine from a region. Rather than a specific bottle, you can look for a style of wine from a region and feel confident that it will go well with the recipe pairing we provide. We give you 12 recipes, each to pair with a wine.
The goal is to make your mouth water and encourage you to create your own “Tempting Spoonfuls.”