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Conscious Wine

March 25, 2012

We recently had a visit from the Conscious Wine guy, Jeffrey Weissler  (one of our good friends and CSA members). He shot a few photos of the home front that I thought were worth sharing with you all… and while you’re at it, check out his awesome wine website! He does a great job at finding wineries and vineyards in Oregon that farm in a responsible way.

We pay a lot of attention to what we eat, whether or not our veggies and fruit are organic, or sprayed with fungicides, insecticides and herbicides… but a lot of the time, the pesticide load in the wine we drink with our meal is an afterthought. Which is crazy, when you think about it. Grape skins are some of the most absorbent membranes out there in the food world, and ready to soak up pretty much anything that gets sprayed on them. And here’s a trade secret. Those grapes that go into the wine you drink? Not washed. Ever. Not that it matters, most of the conventional fungicides are systemic, meaning they get absorbed by the plant and sent to each and every plant cell. They are very effective, but you can’t wash that stuff off. But you sure can digest it. Just ask your liver.

Not only that… around here, acres and acres of new vineyards are being planted every year, concentrating the use of herbicides and fungicides in our area.  Glyphosate, the major herbicide in the wine world is now showing up in our drinking water, and in our bodies. They used to tell us that this was a ‘safe’ herbicide, that broke down right away, and most home-owners probably have a jug of the stuff in their tool-sheds. (Round-up… they sell it at Costco in staggeringly large containers).   Guess what? New research has been coming out about glyphosate. It causes miscarriages in livestock (infertility in mammals is a big problem in my mind since WE are mammals, and this is what sci-fi movies are made of) and human kidney cell death. Also, terrifying is that 70% of our food supply in this country is dependent on the use of glyphosate sprayed on GMO crops. This is why we do what we do. But I digress.

The good news is, some of the wineries in the Willamette are visionaries, and strive to farm with less of a heavy hand, allowing us to enjoy the unique wines that result.  Jeffrey ferrets out these gems and presents them to us, and helps us appreciate how wine can ‘explain’ a specific place. (After all, nothing is worse than the “wonderbreadification” of the Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs. If everyone is using the same systemic chemistries on the same cultivars of grapes, what is left to express terroir?). We LOVE unique wines that really express the farm that the grapes were grown on.  See the right side of this post for some of our favorites. Or check Jeffrey’s website.

Anyway, enough seriousness. Check out how cute Diego is:

Diego and Ed love visitors. Here’s Megan making some new friends:

And here is Jeffrey getting molested by the cat while Pacha jealously looks on:

Not sure if the chickens approved of Jeffrey or not. Here’s one of the girls giving him a wary look:

And “Steve”, the boyfriend we got for Suki, waddling away like his life depends on it. Suki, on the other hand, is so happy with her newfound love, she’s been laying lots of eggs in appreciation.

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