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Slow Wines and Organic Farming with Lettuce Grow

Our #WinePW (Pairing Weekend) group is looking at organic wines this month, and I wanted to take some time to share with you the benefits of "slow wines" and make a connection with organic farming with our Lettuce Grow hydroponic garden.  I first introduced you to our experiment with hydroponic gardening in this post.  Let's start with the wine portion of this post first.




Our host this month is Gwendolyn Alley from Wine Predator. In her post, she talks about certified organic wines, which can be certified organic, regenerative organic, or biodynamic. She notes that a wine may be certified Lodi Rules, or SIP certified, or Salmon Safe. She notes that these other certifications don't guarantee that the wines are organic, so proceed with caution or do your homework.

What's a slow wine?

Slow wine is wine made using hand-crafted techniques without the use of herbicides. Slow winemakers use organic farming techniques, respect the land and water. Techniques like hand-picking, hand-sorting, and slow-pressing are used. Each barrel is looked after individually. 

Our group was gifted three wines to share with you.  Our reviews are our own personal opinions and we were not asked to only write favorable reviews.  We received Cono Sur Organico wines from Chile and a Californian Bonterra wine from Bonterra Vineyards.

    



About the Bonterra Wine...

VINEYARD NOTES

Winemaker Jeff Cihocki blends organically grown Chardonnay grapes from throughout California including a large portion from our own organically-farmed estate vineyards, Blue Heron Ranch and McNab Ranch, in Mendocino. The 2020 vintage was particularly long and even, ensuring wonderful full flavor and ripeness to the grapes at harvest.  Bonterra has a range of rose, chardonnay, merlot, Zin, red blend and some canned wines from $14-$22. The organically farmed collections features fruit grown with thoughtful attention to the land. 

WINEMAKING NOTES

After harvest in September and October, the juice is pressed so its skins retain freshness. Seventy percent of the grapes are then fermented in oak barrels. The balance goes to ferment in stainless steel tanks which helps retain the bright fruit flavors and freshness. Oak-fermented wines undergo a secondary malolactic fermentation to add richness and a creamy texture on the palate. The wine is then aged for six months some in stainless steel tank and some new and neutral medium-toast American oak barrels to increase complexity.

TASTING NOTES

A light-golden color, this elegant chardonnay brings meaning to the term balance. While it swirls with richness, the uplifting zest of bright citrus and green apple notes liven the sensations across the palate.
Flower blossom aromas add a delicate tropical note while pear and spice flavors add warmth to the middle rounded by a touch of toasted vanilla on the creamy finish.  This was a refreshing wine that we served with a seafood dish of grilled halibut. 

About the Cono Sur wines ...

THE VINEYARD

Cono sur Vineyards & Winery was founded in 1993 with a vision of producing premium, expressive and innovative wines that convey the spirit of the new world. The company distinguishes itself by three main features: the creative use of technology, orientation towards quality, and respect for the environment. Cono Sur´s name refers to the company´s geographic position, representing wines proudly made in South America´s southern cone, on whose western edge lies Chile and its gifted wine valleys.

WINEMAKING NOTES

To Cono Sur quality is a concept that is present in all of our productive stages. It begins with the definition of the right valley and vineyard. The right grape in the right terroir. The next step is to ensure that the vines are healthy, following up closely on their growth and the ripening of the grapes. In order to achieve this, we must monitor each vineyard with regular visits, which also helps us determine when it is time to harvest. Once the grapes are picked and the vinification begins, quality is sought after by ensuring that fermentation is done correctly and that each variety reaches its maximum potential. When the fermentation is done the winemakers must decide on the type of barrels, aging, blending to achieve the best wine possible. Finally, comes the bottling which requires the rigorous attention of supplies and technical parameters.

TASTING NOTES

Sauvignon Blanc-a bright green-yellow color, this wine has a nose of white flowers, pineapple, and citrus which is strong and delightful. Good acidity, this wine is wonderful with salads, seafood, chicken, and vegetarian dishes. Our personal favorite.

Chardonnay-This Chardonnay has a beautiful, young yellow coloring with golden hints. Exuberant and complex, this wine conveys refreshing citrus aromas, fruity notes of white peaches, and mineral hints. In the and fresh wine, very balanced, with great acidity.  Serve before dinner with meats, cheeses, and nuts. 

Lettuce Grow

Like slow wines, Lettuce Grow is a farming technique that uses natural substances for growing food. The plants are grown in containers that are self-watering and self-feeding, using nutrients that are added to the water on a weekly basis.  Plants are delivered as seedlings so that you get about a three-week head start on your plants. Plants can be grown all year as the stand can be moved indoors once the weather cools down.  Add some grow lights and continue gardening throughout the winter.


Photo taken September 8, 2021


We produced about 150 pounds of vegetables and herbs this year.  Our initial investment of $350 for the stand, about $20 worth of plants, and about $40 worth of nutrients means that our vegetable cost was $2.75 per pound of food. We weren't into this for any savings, but more for to know what was in and on our food and to know how it was grown. 




This year we grew zucchini, tomatoes, basil, parsley, thyme, mini cucumbers, baby lettuces, broccoli, cilantro, oregano, and mint.  Our zucchini and tomatoes grew rampant, we only harvested one broccoli, and the herbs are still producing at a rapid rate. All the vegetables were delicious and easy to harvest.  Next summer we will add additional tiers to grow more.





Good food and good wine are best when grown the way nature intended them to be: not forced into quick production or with herbicides and pesticides. Know what is going into your body and feed it what it deserves.  The very best.
 
A big thank you and shout out to Fetzer Vineyards in California for the gift of wine.  It was greatly appreciated.  Check out the other takes on this wine by our other wonderful #WinePW bloggers below!


Would you like to comment?

  1. Your produce really looks great and this is a good season for harvesting fruit and vegetables. The wine seems like a perfect pairing and organic is always better.

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  2. I really like the guiding principles of Cono Sur Vineyards and Winery. I wish more companies respected the environment.

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  3. Oh wow! I would love to try this organic wine. It's more safe if our foods are organic

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  4. Richelle Escat12:51 AM

    Thanks, it's so great to know more about wine. Nice one.

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  5. This is really interesting. I didn't really know what a slow wine was. I'm glad to have seen this.

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  6. I have never heard of that system, Lettuce Grow. But I am intrigued. Thanks for sharing it and your pairing.

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  7. Homegrown and organic veggies deserve wines from sustainably grown grapes. Thanks for the great info on Lettuce Grow!

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  8. Sounds like a great vineyard. I am a big fan of organic farming and it is nice to learn about these wines.

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  9. I will need to get some of this organic wine, I love organic products

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  10. Nice! Glad you enjoyed the wines. Thanks for participating.

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  11. I love the idea of slow wines and would want to try a bottle myself. It complements the whole organic farming process.

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  12. It's nice to know that there is a trend to make wine like our grand grand grand parents did. It's important to take care of what we drink and eat!Love the idea of slow wines!

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  13. What a great gift to receive. My husband loves wine. I do enjoy some occasionally. -LYNNDEE

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  14. I try to plant some herbs so it will be available all seasons of the year. Very important to have an idea what your food contains

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  15. I love your Lettuce Grow container gardens! We have looked at hydroponics, but with the heat here, it makes it more difficult. We do have small counter size containers to grow herbs hydroponically that work pretty well. It looks like you harvested some wonderful produce this year!

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  16. Thanks for the introduction to Lettuce Grow. It's new to me, but it sounds great!

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  17. I didn't know wine making was such an art! Great to learn something new.

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  18. Good to know about lettuce grow, seems like a really good system.

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