Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on May 26, 2010
Medlock Ames Winery has vin-dicated my Granny’s gardening methods. Her approach was unusual to say the least, and we all thought the lush product of her idiosyncrasy was pure coincidence. Now I’m delighted to discover an up-and-coming family vineyard whose dynamic methodologies have put an ecologically modern-day spin on the age-old wisdom of Granny.
In 1996, two young men formed a partnership to make great wine. At the time, the success of California wines had created a glut of property purchases by owners who razed the land of the natural flora and fauna to put in their steel and grid rows of grapes, greedily using up every bit of space in order to maximize profits. But Christopher Medlock James and Ames Morison had other ideas.
From the onset, the Medlock Ames Winery embraced unusual techniques by utilizing Biodynamics, a radical method in which natural occurring plant and animal interaction replenishes the living soil, creating a vitality that supports and affects the quality and health of the plants that grow in it. Sounds pretty simple, but it isn’t. The exact science has numerous factors to take into consideration and the growers must be grounded in the precise ecological knowledge of nature.
Research has proven that the light of the sun, moon, planets and stars reaches the plants in regular rhythms. Medlock Ames times their ground preparation, sowing, cultivating and harvesting to the advantage of the crops they raise.
As for the plant/animal interaction, Christopher and James use sheep to clear the land of weeds and thin the leaves of the developing grape vines. To keep harmful animals clear of their crops, they use all natural predators like hawks and owls. And for those jobs requiring the use of fossil-fueled equipment? Horse drawn! As for the large energy source needed to run such business…100% solar.
And by the way, the majority of their acreage is set aside to remain in its natural beauty.
As for the ‘fruit of their labor’, these young vintners are best known for their premium Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, while many of their other wines are noted in such prestigious magazines and newspapers as Sunset Magazine, Wine Enthusiast, The New York Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle. They are still waiting to hear back from the Wine Spectator, but in the meantime, their following grows as enthusiastically as their crops. Morison was quoted as saying, “We are trying to target people like us — young, forward-thinking, and if not committed to sustainability, at least conscious of it.”