It’s not often that you think of gardening when you think of wine. But let’s face it, someone has to get out in the fields and prune those grapes.
And if you ask any grape farmer, he or she will say that the better the pruning, the better the wine. If the pruning is done correctly the previous year, then the quality of the grapes will increase tremendously.
It’s that aspect of gardening that brought Kathleen Inman to California’s Russian River Valley and the wine business. And it is where she now spends her days as winemaker and general manager of Inman Family Wines.
Her love of gardening also led her to organic farming and sustainable soil practices, such as composting, raising earthworms for compost teas, and eliminating the use of man-made fertilizers like Miracle-Gro and weed killers like RoundUp.
Her vineyard, Olivet Grange, also uses compost from San Francisco's table scraps program which uses gourmet food waste from local restaurants, as well as domestic food scraps from the city's residents.
“Besides organically certified fungicides, I make use of a number of integrated pest management techniques - owl boxes, bat habitat and raptor perches. Even our two cats assist in 'gopher patrols,'" says Inman.
It all costs more, but Inman believes it is difficult to put a price on caring for the environment.
And if it makes the wine taste better, I’m all for it.