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September 30 Soil & Minerals

Tip-Toeing Around Eco-Ethics

By: rachel

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every winemaker in the world was biodiverse?

We know that you will pay a little extra for a drop that’s been lovingly crafted with the earth in mind, so why don’t more wineries embark on the great organic adventure? Because it’s expensive.

They have to pass the cost onto the customer. Otherwise, they’ll be making their wines at a loss. However, there are some small production wineries that refuse to cultivate their varieties any other way – and you should cough up the change.

Let’s talk sensitive farming – and no, it’s not a bunch of cows that have had it up to here. It’s a twist on the modern take on agriculture. Up to date technological practices in farming mean that the soil and eco-system take a back seat.

Inman Family Wines have taken a unique approach to their way of growing grapes. Their farming system includes an aptly named four-course compost, that comprises the table scraps discarded by many different San Francisco hotels, restaurants and residents.

Now, you may not be particularly partial to sending your scraps to the winemakers – but hear us out. Not only is it an excellent nutrient-rich alternative to your standard synthetic fertilizers, but it also closes the gap between earth to table.

The next step in Inman Family’s eco-system process is worms. Worms, like every other creature that calls earth home, excrete. To put it delicately, the worm castings are used to create a bio-fertilizer that helps the soil to do its job.

Now, the last step in this complex, yet satisfying process is developing a natural pest control. When you endeavor to grow anything, whether it’s grapes or tomatoes, you’re going to come up against creatures that want their fair share.

What better way to ward them off than encouraging natural predators like owls to come and nest nearby? This way, creatures like gophers are kept away from the precious vines, and the local owl population is promoted – all because you like to drink biodiverse wine.

Inman Family Wines have a pretty good setup going for them – but the road is narrow. It’s taken Kathleen Inman years of hard work and dedication to developing a winery that harmonizes perfectly with the eco-system surrounding it – and every day presents a new and different challenge as a result.

Now, as much as you like to listen to me harp on about the worms and the owls, I know that at the end of the day you’re really here for the wine. So let’s check it out.

Inman Family Wine Varieties

Russian River Valley Chardonnay: don’t worry, you don’t have to overthink the name too much – it’s not going to remind you of standing in the middle of a Russian river when you drink it. In fact, it’ll do the opposite.

The nutmeg, honeysuckle and Asian pear notes of this pale straw Chardonnay will transport you straight to the middle of a meadow, where the sun will be beating down upon you. Kefir lime with toasted nuts and lemon peel will finish the palate off sharply, leaving a pleasant level of minerality on your tongue.

Whole Buncha Bubbles: this next Inman Family variety is as close to its name as you could get. It’s also a diamond in the rough. Single vintage from single vineyard sparkling wines is almost unheard of in California.

Your first impression may be that of water – because this sparkling wine has almost no color to it. However, your nose will be treated much better than your eyes with a delicious apply raspberry crumble note.

On the palate, you can expect lemon meringue pie with green apple, finished nicely by another harmonizing minerality coupled with red fruit. It’s clean, it’s crisp, and it’s an absolute pleasure.

Inman Family Wines don’t compromise on production or price. I’m of the belief that you pay for what you get – and if it’s biodiverse, it’s worth it.

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