Monday, September 20, 2010

Ravine Vineyard; Organic Grapes and Biodynamic Wines

The first vineyard my friend took me to was Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery it is owned by the Harber family. Their youngest son Alex who went to school for winery and viticulture studies runs the retail section and their other son Paul Harber is a chef in the adjacent Deli restaurant along with Collin Goodine. Ravine and celebrity chef Ana Olson (host on food network Canada) have created a partnership. She opened her second location of Olson foods on the Vineyard.

Ravine vineyard officially opened their retail store November 08, 2008. Their very first sale receipt stands framed behind the counter. It was a Cabernet Franc, their first vintage totalling $408. Paul Harber made the first sale. A while later they received a package in the mail from the person who bought it, it was the receipt framed.

As I brought my first wine tasting glass to my lips to taste I remembered there is a proper way to do this and I had a feeling I was going to make a fool out of myself. I decided to follow my friend’s lead. I just watched and listened as he swirled his cup numerous times, smelled the wine and then sipped it, He then sieved it through his teeth. I tried to copy him and appear to look like I knew what I was doing. He had some fantastic questions about the soil and the grapes.

Ravine’s grapes are 100% certified organic and next year they aim to have a biodynamic vineyard. Biodynamic farming is as Alex explained to me a mix of science and Wicca, you harvest with the lunar calendar cycle. Also with Bio dynamic farming you are not using chemicals but replacing them with manure, compost more vineyards are raising livestock to contribute. You can now hear cows mooing amongst the vineyards. The organic spray they use on the fields smells like balsamic vinegar Alex commented it’s like the vineyard is being dressed.

I found this quote on the internet describing what Biodynamic is which I find strange. “Mike Benziger: Biodynamic is the most advanced form of organic farming. It works with cycles of nature to grow grapes and make wine, and uses plants and animals to take the place of chemicals and fertilizers. We look to nature for answers, not to men” How is it that going back to our roots and how people used to farm is an advanced form of farming? It all may seem a little too Avatar but all the ancient cultures grew and harvested with the lunar calendar and they had a closer spiritual relationship with the earth.

We tasted some reds, including their 2008 vintage Red Coat with pairs nicely with Pizza and BBQ which you can order at their restaurant. We also tried their 2007 Reserve Merlot. You can tell if a red wine is old when it has a browner colour as opposed to looking purple. The tannin in the grapes allows the vine to age.
Ravine will release their first Rose soon which will be a 2009 and their first ice wine which the region is famous for is yet to be release and is also a 2009. The ice wines are a longer process; the fermentation is slower and takes about a month.

We then moved onto the whites and I think it was at this point when Alex was wondering why he was giving free wine to an unprofessional knob like myself when I admitted the Riesling got a “really good” on my smiley face scale. The 2009 fruity vintage Gewürztraminer or as Alex described like a tropical fruit salad also faired very well on the smiley face scale with a “sooo good” rating. With this season having been quite a warm summer their 2009 Chardonnay Musque which is only sold in the half sized bottles sold very well. It has an 8.8% spritzer added to it.

I felt better about myself when a middle aged lady came in for some tastings; she really liked the pottery spittoon and spilt the contents everywhere when she went to investigate it. We all tried to explain to her what is was but she couldn’t grasp the concept. “Why would you spit out the wine?” she asked. I understood the concept but preferred to drink my wine down as well.

Wine Tasting; 3 tastings for $5 but the fee is wavied with any purchase.
Ravine Vineyard
1366 York Road
St. Davids

1 comment:

  1. Is there any way to buy your York road wine in the USA ?


Blog directory