The story of how a wine is made is as important as the wine itself.
– Rob Sinskey
RSV is a second-generation, family-owned and operated vineyard and winery guided by the principle that the craft of winegrowing begins with the care of the soil. Every vine for every wine was planted by RSV with every vineyard certified* organic. One could say that RSV is beyond organic. Since 1991, RSV has been practicing the “whole farm” philosophy of interrelationships based on Rudolph Steiner’s 1928 lecture “Agriculture.” This approach addresses the damage done by modern, mechanized farming to heal an ailing earth, tapping into the rhythms of nature, encouraging natural processes to grow balanced wine grapes that require little more than attentiveness to craft into expressive, vibrant and living wines.
RSV approaches the cellar with purist sensibilities. Winemaker Jeff Virnig provides the accumulated knowledge of nearly 35 years in the RSV cellar and vineyards, crafting wines that are true to variety and place. The guiding principle that “wine is not an athletic event” has allowed RSV to maintain a house style of elegance, balance and finesse. RSV does not submit wine for review by score-centric critics, because to taste wine in a competitive atmosphere, without food on the table, rewards muscular wines that shout while ignoring well-crafted wines of subtlety and grace that compliment the table… attributes that define the fine wines of RSV.
Nature hates a monoculture. RSV’s 200+ acres of vineyard land is primarily about grapes, but we also leave dozens of acres fallow with permanent wild areas and natural habitat for beneficial insects and predators. We want to take advantage of nature’s checks and balances to do the work for us. But more than that, RSV is inspired by the historical farm.
In times past, wine grapes grew as part of a rich regional culinary tradition. The food of the region informed and possibly drove the wine industry, creating natural pairings handed down through generations. RSV’s vineyards are a haven for honey bees, birds of prey, vibrant flowers, bountiful fruit orchards and lush vegetable gardens. The bounty from each season complements our wine, adds dimension to RSV dinner menus, sparks creative ideas and lifts the senses.
A successful integrated farm models itself on nature with the right number of animals to balance the resources within a closed-loop, sustainable system. Sheep frolic all winter long in RSV’s organic vineyards, noshing on the lush, nutritious green cover crops that grow between the vines; doing the work of a tractor and returning nutrients to the soil for the vines to enjoy. After birthing lambs in the spring, they have their wool sheared before the arrival of the heat of summer. The fleeces are scoured, carded and spun into beautiful, soft, naturally-colored wool on turn of the century machinery at the Yolo Wool Mill… and in the fall, a few grace our table. It is the cycle of life. The sheep reduce tractor use, enrich the soil, keep us warm with their wool and nurture us at the table.
*RSV’s vineyards are certified by C.C.O.F. – California Certified Organic Farmers. As of the 2013 vintage RSV no longer uses the trademarked words “Demeter” or “Biodynamic” – no matter, RSV has not changed farming philosophy.
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