As the Cellars Wine Club Blog focuses on Oregon wine this week, Wine Wednesday is taking a unique turn. Instead of discovering a variety of wines from the featured region, we have written solely on King Estate Winery and their efforts in organic winemaking. We hope you enjoy this special organic edition of Wine Wednesday!
The movement of organic food has become somewhat of an obsession on the Western coast. In 2006 the US sales of organic food products totaled over $17 billion. This market has grown even more during the last 7 years, and showed a 25% annual increase.
TV shows such as Portlandia exemplified, in their over-the-top anecdotal way, the care with which the urban populations of Oregon (and Washington) approach the environment and health in general. In fact, you can scarcely go to a locally owned restaurant without encountering locally sourced organic food, organic and gluten free options, and a glimpse of a composting bin in the back.
It should be unsurprising to us then, that the largest organic vineyard in the US is in Oregon. (It also happens to the be largest vineyard in Oregon.)
King Estate Winery is 1,033 acres of beautifully rolling grapevines, orchards, and flower beds. Of this, 465 acres are devoted to organic grapes. Oregon Tilth, one of the most stringent certifying bodies within the US, inspected and approved. In fact, in the year 2005, they recognized King Estate Winery as organic producer of the year.
All the King Estate Domaine wines are made from estate grown organic grapes, or a combination of estate organic grapes and grapes sourced from the best sustainably farmed vineyards through Washington and Oregon. Unfortunately, you won’t see the ‘certified organic’ stamp on their wine bottles, as wines require the use of sulfites for stabilization and protection against oxidation. The use of these sulfites disqualifies their bottled wine from the official label, despite their using only the very minimum required amount.
Undeterred by lack of labelling, King Estate has stuck to their convictions that organic farming is the most sustainable and eco-friendly, if not the cheapest–and produces the yummiest foods. They practice what they preach.
Atop a hill lies the King Estate restaurant and wine bar. Here they highlight their own eco-friendly and organic wines, excellently paired with local organic food. They even tend their own organic gardens here, just for use in their kitchens culinary creativity. When you visit and a bouquet of flowers on one of the restaurant table attracts your admiration, be suspicious that those flowers came from their organic flower beds.
King Estates has led the way not only in organic wines, but they’ve also diverged from Oregon’s most notable wine, Pinot Noir, and forged the way in Pinot Gris, becoming the benchmark producer of Pinot Gris in the entire country. This wine captured national awareness primarily due to it’s excellence–and the pioneering spirit of its vignerons. King Estate Winery has won many national awards and honorable mentions for their Pinot Gris already, and we can’t but suppose it won’t be long before international awards start being hung on their walls as well.
Wine enthusiast or no, one can’t help but admire the King Estate Winery. The beauty of their buildings, the idyllic fields and the excellence in all they do draw in the devoted and the inquisitive. Truly, this is a winery to be enjoyed.