Vineyard ‘Aphrodisiac Perfume’

Grape Cluster Flowering

Last year about this time, when grapevines were beginning to flower, we wrote about the sex lives of grapes — how they are hermaphroditic, self-pollinating, and the flowers are, according to the decidedly unromantic Jancis Robinson, “unattractive” and “unspectacular.” But what is sex without love? This year we are feeling quite amorous about our just-blossoming [...]

To See the Universe in a Pile of a Shit

cowhorns stuffed with manure

It’s late fall; the air is cool but the sun is warm and the vines, having been relieved of the burden of bearing fruit are just beginning to shrug their leaves. Each vine, like most trees and plants across the northern hemisphere is pulling its energy downwards, back into its roots. After months of drawing [...]

Honey Bees in the Vineyard


If you learn only one thing from studying a honey bee colony it is probably that a hive functions as one organism. You cannot separate any one part of it from another. It is all interdependent. Then you’d do well to extrapolate that out to realize this is a microcosm of nature. In this light, [...]

The Secrets of the Red Room

Baccarat provides the light

When one of Burgundy’s most flamboyant, charismatic and charming vintners, Jean-Charles Boisset, purchased Raymond Vineyards, a storied Napa Valley estate, in 2009, there were bound to be changes. First, the most sustainably-minded playboy on the planet initiated a strict biodynamic farming regimen, starting the long, arduous process of restoring soil health and biodiversity to the [...]

Chasing Sheep At a Biodynamic Vineyard in Napa Valley

It’s probably true what they say: Chasing sheep is indeed best left to shepherds. You can see from the above that we had some trouble chasing the sheep at Joseph Phelps Vineyards — those fur balls can haul ass over the rows when they want, eh? — but Philippe Pessereau, director of vineyard operations at Joseph [...]

Wool Blend: What Sheep Have to Do With Napa Winemaking

Sheep at Joseph Phelps by Terence Ford

No, this isn’t a Thomas Hardy novel or a nursery rhyme. There are no crooks or bags of wool, comfy sweaters or socks or tiny barbecued shanks. But this is a story about sheep — some of them black — and just what these sheep have to do with making wine. Biodynamic farming, admittedly, is a complex [...]