Page 7 - Grapevine SeptOct 2021
P. 7

In The Winery

               of Rhône grapes, including Viognier, Marsanne,       constellations (Aries, Sagittarius, Leo) and are ideal
               Roussanne, Picpoul Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Cinsault,  for harvesting crops. For some, planting accord-
               Counoise, Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre, plus       ing to lunar cycles is somewhat of a mystery, but
               small plantings of Tempranillo and the Greek         proponents consider this an attempt to harmonize
               Assyrtiko. Demetria also produces Burgundy-style     with nature to maximize yields and keep the vine-
               wines, sourcing organic Pinot Noir, Chardonnay,      yard sustainable.
               Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris grapes from select cool-
               er-climate vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills and       “Our consultant, [Armenier], works with our vine-
               Santa Maria Valley.                                  yard manager and vineyard foreman to care for the
                                                                    vines,” Zahoudanis said, “and I let the wines speak
                 From the beginning, the Zahoudanis family has      for themselves. The fruit is really gorgeous and
               farmed sustainably and biodynamically. Their first   expresses itself beautifully as a more natural prod-
               winemaker, Michael Roth, now of Lo-Fi Wines in       uct.”
               nearby Los Alamos, was a big proponent of nat-
               ural wines, as is current winemaker Ryan Roark.        Demetria applies the principles of biodynamics
               Philippe Armenier, the renowned biodynamic           and sustainability in the cellar as well as in the vine-
               expert from the Rhône Valley, guides Demetria’s      yard. “We know our vineyard well, and we know
               farming practices. They treat the vineyard as a liv-  when to pick so we don’t have to manipulate the
               ing organism, with soil, plants and animals working   fruit,” Zahoudanis said. “We use minimal sulfur,
               together to promote health and vitality. Farming     and we don’t add acid or tannins. We don’t want a
               is entirely organic, meaning no chemical fertilizers,   chemical experiment going on in our winery.”
               herbicides or pesticides. For example, sheep on the
               property eat weeds and fertilize the soil during late     Demetria relies on native yeasts to start fermenta-
               winter and early spring when the vines are dor-      tion and does not inoculate for malolactic fermen-
               mant. Demetria also plants cover crops, including    tation. Zahoudanis said they filter their wine simply
               nitrogen-rich legumes and daikon radishes, to pro-   by racking and will only apply fining if the tannins
               tect the topsoil and nourish the vines. The major    are too harsh, and then they will use bentonite, a
               pest, according to Zahoudanis, is leafhoppers,       natural product. Ultimately, he explained, the goal
               which are controlled using natural predators such    is to “produce wines that are complex, while being
               as ladybugs and organic, biologically-approved pes-  food-friendly and approachable, not just for the
               ticides, including sprays contain-
               ing fermented and herbal teas.

                 From pruning to planting to
               harvest, vineyard tasks are deter-
               mined by a biodynamic calen-
               dar, which categorizes days into
               four groups—flower, fruit, leaf
               and root—based on lunar cycles
               and astrological signs. Each day
               also coincides with one of the
               four elements of nature—earth,
               water, fire and air. Root days,
               for example, are when the
               moon travels through any of the
               Earth signs (Capricorn, Taurus,     Far right, Alexis. Others: The other gents are Logan Livermore,
               Virgo) and are best for planting,   Steven Gorey and Nick Marchi. They all work at Demetria, Logan
               replanting and pruning. Fruit       is the Sales and Hospitality Manager, Nick is the Wine Society
               days are associated with the Fire   Manager and Steven is one of our Brand Ambassadors.

               877-892-5332                  The Grapevine • September - October 2021                             Page 5

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