‘‘This Demeter certified biodynamic ranch is a testament to what can be achieved when biodynamics are embraced by the outset”
Rick Grimm and his wife, Aurora, settled down in the Santa Ynez Valley after four years of living in Monaco. Determined to produce the elegant types of wine they were accustomed to drinking in Europe, they purchased 246 acres of land in Happy Canyon and planted vines in 2012. Philippe Coderey, who has been a hard-liner in the biodynamic movement since the 1980s, acts as the property’s “biodynamic consultant,” and vine manager. Paul Lato, who apprenticed at Au Bon Climate and Qupé, is the winemaker.
At the center of the property is a pond, with a healthy ecosystem of fish and oxygenating grasses. Algae is skimmed off and used for compost tea, along with manure from the property’s Braunvieh cattle, guinea fowl, and chickens. The dry farmed vineyards are protected by cover crops, with beneficial insects aiding plant protection.
Paul Lato’s wines are made with a deliberateness that shows a meticulous attention to detail. The Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2016 is fresh and lively, with lemongrass and green apple that is smoothed out by a touch of neutral oak. The Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2016 is creamier, with white pepper and celery adding a layer of complexity. The Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (Great wine) is true to its varietal character, with notes of spicy arugula work- ing well with the ripe fruit. The Contango Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 is savory and spicy, full of blackcurrant, vanilla, and a touch of minerality.
PLANT PROTECTION biodynamic preparations
WEED CONTROL mechanical
YEASTS commercial cultured yeasts
GRAPES 100% estate-grown
CERTIFICATION biodynamic, organic