Tuesday, August 3, 2010

For all you oenophiles out there...

For some of you the 5 wines that are paired with the 5 courses of delectable food are reason enough alone to buy a ticket to the Harvest Dinner. This year, Red White:Green will be providing a stunning line up of biodynamic wines that complement every reduction, herb and essence that passes your lips. If you take your wine seriously, then perhaps you'd like to know a little more about the business we are partnering with. And if you like what you read, then consider buying a ticket or two or four to the Harvest Dinner. Saturday, August 28th. Tickets available at the market information booth on Sundays or the Bipartisan Cafe or Country Cat any other day of the week.

In the words of Jeff Vejr, proprietor of Red White:Green:
1. Describe your operation - where it is located and how you started your business.

Red White: Green operates in Portland, OR. A tasting room will be opened in Fall 2010. We strictly focus on Biodynamic®, Organic, and Natural wines from around the world. We will be producing a wine from Oregon (to be released May 2011) and we will be launching a certification program for restaurants, wine bars, retailers, and wineries in January 2011. Our goal is to educate the general public about the health, social, and environmental benefits of grapes grown and wines made from Biodynamic®, Organic, and Natural methods. I started this company because for me, these wines were the most expressive, the most ‘alive’, and they almost always tasted the best. It pains me to see people purchase their organic fruits, vegetables, grains, and grass fed beef and then to see them grab a bottle of a hyper-industrialized, manipulated, homogenous wine, that was made in the most ‘unnatural’ of ways. It is our goal to help people make better wine choices.

2. How does your 'red and white' become 'green'? Describe biodynamic methods and philosophy.

The company name translates to Red Wine, White Wine: Green Wine. Viniculture has always been at the forefront of major agricultural movements. I attribute this to the desire for quality, to make the best wine possible. Wine has been at the core of many European cultures and so the care, attention, and meticulous ways that grapes are farmed is a testament to the reverence that wine has historically had. Let’s not forget that grapes are a crop, and the farming practices associated with it are the MOST important part of making great wine.

For me, Biodynamic® farming is the most environmentally responsible agricultural method and grapes grown and wines produced following these methods tend to taste the best. They are clearly ‘alive’. In short, Biodynamics® goes beyond organic, envisioning the farm as a self-contained and self-sustaining organism. In an effort to keep the farm, the farmer, the consumer, and the earth healthy, farmers avoid chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers, instead utilizing compost and cover crops. The entire farm, versus a particular crop, must be managed in this way. Based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner (circa 1924), biodynamics® includes the ideas of organic farming. The foundation of Steiner’s approach to farming is the blending of prescriptive, holistic practices with the farmer’s experiences and observations. Steiner recognized the rhythms of the sun and moon, the benefit of applying biodynamic preparations such as horn manure and the wisdom of organizing the farm as an independent unit. Biodynamic winegrowers create self-sustaining farms by using natural amendments, ideally from the farm itself, to encourage growth and health in the vineyard.

I grew up on a small self-sustaining farm in New Hampshire, we grew all of our own vegetables, we raised our own livestock, we had a huge compost pile, and we wasted very little on the farm. Later on in life, when I was introduced to Biodynamics®, it was incredibly obvious to me and normal. In my mind, Biodynamics® is the greatest agricultural paradigm. I believe that it produces the best tasting, healthiest foods. Isn’t that what it is really about? Consider the drastic difference between a homegrown tomato and a hydroponically grown tomato. A free-range chicken egg to an egg from an industrial farm. Fresh squeezed orange juice to orange juice from concentrate. Wine isn’t all the same and there are drastic differences in taste from grapes grown and wines made conventionally vs. Biodynamic®, Organic, or Naturally made.

3. Tell us about your varietals. What's new, hot and what's your favorite.

Red White: Green supports all of the vitis vinifera grapes. Wine is more than just Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Personally, I am in love with Syrah. For me, it is the most diverse grape, it expresses it’s ‘terroir’ much more than any other grape and you can find amazing examples all over the globe. It’s a shame that it doesn’t get more attention because it is such a generous wine. From Southern and Eastern Oregon (yes, we grow exceptional Syrah here), to the multiple valleys of the Rhone, to the Mountains of Italy, to the flower kingdom in South Africa, to Hawks Bay in New Zealand, to Walla Walla, and even in the mountains of the Sonoma Coast, Syrah is always sharing where it is from.

4. Who are your main customers? Where can we find your wines?

My main customers are consumers that are interested in learning more about the health, social, and environmental benefits of wines that are Biodynamic®, Organic, or Naturally made. There isn’t a very reliable way to find these wines CURRENTLY. It is our goal to help anyone find these wines and learn the differences between these agricultural and wine producing methods. It is needed within the wine profession and to the consumer at large. You will be able to find our wines at most specialty wine shops here in Portland soon. A list will be posted on our website in the coming months.

5. Do you grow the fruit that produces your wine, or do you have contract vineyards that are biodynamic and sustainable growers?

Currently, we do not grow any grapes or make any wine. We leave that to the dedicated farmers and vignerons we partner with. Locally, I work with three wineries that allow me to taste through barrels to produce a wine that is unique for Red White: Green. I would never call myself a ‘winemaker’, I prefer ‘barrel hunter’. I am excited for the new wines that will be released in May 2011 and I look forward to sharing more about those at a later date.

6. How did you come to partner with Montavilla Farmers Market?

The opportunity presented itself through Beth Kluvers, the treasurer of the Montavilla Farmers Market. She knew about my company and thought it would be a great fit. I am honored to be one of the many excellent local companies involved in this year’s Harvest Dinner. It is a great platform for the wines and a great way to attract awareness to the benefits of Biodynamic®, Organic, and Natural wines.

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