Keeping track in California, Oregon and Washington

Wine is the reflection of the fruit, so to understand wine, one has to understand the vine plant behind

Travelling and going from one place to an other, has always been a need for the human race in order to find food and shelter. Since the beginning of agriculture, more than 10 000 years ago, it seems that this tendency shifted. In other words with agriculture, in a simplistic description, two distinct currents appeared: the nomadic and the sedentary way of leading one own’s

As a true craftman, the farmer has to work the same way an artisan does, in order to elaborate real pieces of art in his fields

life. With these two currents, we saw those people who travelled a fair amount of time in a year in order to feel good and secure, and those who needed to remain always at the same place in order to feel good and secure. Usually, one category can’t understand the other and how it is possible not to adopt the opposite tendency.

This tendency remains the same today at the beginning of the 21st century. We find those one who always remain in the same area all their life and those one who feel the need for new horizon and culture. It is almost vital for them to remain in one or the other current all their life. The nomadic mood applies

L'Aventure vineyards in Paso Robles

to me better these days. Though I always have the longing for my farm in the Loire Valley which requires much more of a sedentary mind set. How to mix travelling and farming together? I wonder. It will be the challenge to meet in the future. Though, I am sure to find a solution as farming is not as it used to be and farmers who wish to do so can leave their farms for weeks and have their work done if properly organised . Organisation and management are the key.

I couldn’t update Holy Terroir blog as much as I wanted to while on the west coast. I had the choice between  visiting the maximum of people in a day or staying quieter and spending more time in front of the screen  to update Holy Terroir blog. I’ve chosen the first option as you have noticed. My time on the west coast was limited whereas my time in front of the computer is flexible and less restrictive. At the beginning of the journey in USA, I tried to write something about each and every visit I was doing. That means in practice that to do something reasonable, I used to visit one or maximum two places in a single day in order to then write about it later on that same day.

Missions have been built by Franciscan monks when they came with the Spaniards. San Miguel Mission, north of Paso Robles, has been built in1792 ans is the oldest mission remained untouched as it was originally. The other ones have been either rebuilt or restored.

A single visit should be no less than two hours. It always takes time to get a glimpse of the place we are visiting. Ideally, the perfect rhythm when moving around and writing at the same time, would be to visit one place in the morning and then to write about it in the blog the afternoon on the same day. Well… In theory, this would be the perfect balance between travelling, investigating and reporting. In practice, this is obviously an other story.

The nettle preparation #504 used in the biodynamic compost, is burried underground one year in these clay vessels. Here at Frey vineyards in Mendocino county.

Why? This is very simple. Farmers, winemakers, and everyone you included, have their own schedule. Most of visits were planned in advance but sometimes it was easier for instance to do 3 visits during the day because the people we wanted to meet were not available during an other time or day. This is why at some point it became almost impossible to report each and every story inspired by the places and the people I was encountering. From one visit a day, we moved sometimes to 5 vineyards in one day. At this pace, it is impossible to keep track with the blog and report each visit. Nevermind.

By saying so, I want to apologize to those one who gave me their time and knowledge on the west coast in order to share with me a tiny bit of their

During a seminar about bio-dynamics at Montinore Estate in the Willamette Valley, Oregon

story. They will know who I want to talk about. I would have loved to introduce them to you in Holy Terroir blog, but unfortunately, it would have taken a whole book lenght to fit these stories in the blog. So what to do in order to honour them? Talking about them? Mentioning their names in the blog? Going back there to spend more time beside them? Working with them in the future in one way or an other?, etc…Possibilities are endless. In fact, the most realistic way to fulfil my objectives, will certainly be to mention their names at some point in Holy Terroir blog, in this post, or in a later one.

The warm welcome at Cayuse vineyards in Walla Walla area in Washington will beautifully end my american tour. Here in the wine studio, from left to right: assistant vigneronnes Laura Pursley and Elizabeth Bourcier with owner Christophe Baron. Amazing wines made by great characters!

And least but not last, there is certainly one person towards which I want to express my gratitude through Holy Terroir blog. Without him, I couldn’t have done one third of what I have accomplished while on the west coast and

Observation of a vine leaf with Philippe Armenier

in the whole United States. Philippe Armenier, bio-dynamic consultant based in Santa Rosa, has been with his family, of a precious help and support. I am taking the opportunity here to thank all of them for letting me stay with them in order to go deeper in understanding bio-dynamics . Even if I am far away from them , I can affirm today that  I have moved a considerable step further on the long path of bio-dynamics.

So, more than words, pictures speak for themselves and give you an overview of my time on the west coast. In the French version of Holy Terroir, you have been able to see already some pictures taken in California. I hope you enjoyed them, and if you didn’t watch them all, go and click on the link “HOLY TERROIR en français” in the right column.

The uniqueness of the soil with these round stones, at Cayuse vineyards, Walla Walla area, Washington