Perennial Vintners
What We Want You To Know
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• Our sister site:
   MelonDeBourgogne.com
• Another sister site:
   Isletage.com
 
Follows is a list of things we want you to know (in no particular order):
    Summary:
  1. FACT: Seattle has less rain during the grape growing season than Burgundy, France.
  2. What "Estate" on a wine label means.
  3. Local wine (local to Seattle)
  4. Local to Seattle (part 2 -- the 100 mile diet)
  5. Organic/Sustainable/Biodynamic/Least-toxic
    Details:
  1. FACT: Seattle has less rain during the grape growing season than many of the classic growing areas of France.
    Please see Growing Wine Grapes in Puget Sound by Steve Snyder at the Puget Sound WineGrowers website (pswg.org). The first section includes a climate comparison including rainfall for Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Seattle and others with charts.

  2. What "Estate" on a wine label means.
    The word "Estate" indicates that the vineyard is controlled by the winery (owned or leased) and that the vineyard is within 50 miles of the winery. If a blend, this must be true for all vineyards contributing to this bottle.
    On the other hand, "Estate" can be used in the name of the business, with no implications, it's just a name, for example "Henry Estate" in Oregon.

  3. Local wine (local to Seattle):
    Perennial Vintners (PV) holds a tie position with Bainbridge Island Vineyard and Winery (BIVW) for closest vineyard to downtown Seattle. We are about 8 miles as the crow files from downtown. The next closest commercial vineyards are (milages approximate): At this writing (Summer 2007), there are no other commercial vineyards less than 40 miles from Seattle. Yet there are about a hundred wineries located in the PS AVA...

    • Until 2011, Perennial and BIVW were the only wineries that produce wines exclusively from Puget Sound American Viticultural Area (PS AVA) grapes.
    • A few others (about a dozen) produce some wines from PS AVA grapes, and some wines from grapes trucked some 300+ miles across the Cascade Mountains from Eastern Washington. (See Puget Sound Winegrowers for listing of most wineries that produce a western WA wine.)
    • As of 2011, PV has joined this latter group, making some PS AVA wines, and some with grapes imported from eastern WA state.
    • Most all the others produce wines solely from Eastern WA grapes.

    Would you consider coffee from a Seattle roaster (assuming you're in the area Seattle like me) to be a local product? Of course not, it's impossible to grow coffee beans at the latitude of Seattle; the beans were grown thousands of miles away, and shipped here for processing. This is distinctly not a local product. I encourage you to buy your coffee from a small local business (I do whenever possible) as opposed to a national chain if possible, but make no mistake -- the product itself is not local.

    When you see a wine in the Seattle area that is presented as local, pay careful attention -- the grapes (which is what wine is all about) are likely to not have been grown locally; only the wine processing was done locally.

    I do not wish to denigrate wines made in the Seattle area from grapes grown 300+ miles away un any fashion. They are likely to be fantastic wines, they simply should not be considered to be local.

    Puget Sound Fresh Look for the Puget Sound Appellation Grown sticker. This is your guarantee of a true PS AVA wine. Annually during November, they have a really neat promotion where you can pledge to eat local for Thanksgiving. I'd encourage your participation.


  4. Local to Seattle (part 2 -- the 100 mile diet):
    The 100 Mile Diet is a very simple concept -- eat locally produced food when possible, namely foods produced within one hundred miles of your home. Please see the previous section for more detail; although there are hundreds of wines manufactured in the Seattle area proper, very few of them are made from grapes that were grown locally.

  5. Organic/Sustainable/Biodynamic/Least-toxic:
    This topic could easily be pages and pages long, but we'll try to be brief.

    Wine can be Organic, meaning that no non-organic means were used in processing the wine. This is highly unusual as almost all wines have sulfites added to preserve them. This is unrelated to whether the grapes used were Organically grown.

    Organically grown grapes, Sustainable farming, Biodynamic, and Least-toxic are all vineyard practices. These each have their strict rules, but you'll have to decide what's important to you, thus which products you choose to buy. The important thing to note is that to become certified as adhering to any of these practices takes at least 3 years. A new designation has appeared recently of "in transition" meaning that the vineyard is partway through this process.

    Least-Toxic: As an example, it is possible to kill weeds with boiling water or steam -- very environmentally friendly, and with no residuals like salmon stream runoff. However, when you consider the energy consumed in heating all that water, the "carbon footprint" may be worse than would be using a specific targeted weed killer. And what about using a tractor to do mechanical weed removal? Again, the "carbon footprint" of fossil fuels consumed by the tractor may be worse than alternatives -- it's all what you choose as the most important.

    At Perennial Vintners our vineyard is maintained in a manner that would pass the State of Washington organic certification, although we have not gone through the certification process. (Remember, it takes 3 years.) We may someday complete the WA State Organic certification process in the future. (The packet of paperwork is on my desk -- it's over 1/4" thick, 37 pages!)


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