Quivira and the Joys of Biodynamic Wine

first_img Get Naked with Independent Winemakers with NakedWines Delivery Kit An Astronomically Fun Chat About Space and Wine With a Winemaker and Former Physicist America’s Oldest City Has a Super-Modern Dining and Drinking Scene How to Choose the Best Organic Mattress for Greener Sleep Helpful Wine Terminology So You Sound Like You Know What You’re Talking About Chances are you’ve heard of organic wine before, but do you actually know what that entails? With so many “green” products and marketing campaigns today, sometimes it’s easy to overlook the process that can go into making something truly organic.Quivira – located in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County, California – is making wines that are both certified organic and Biodynamic. They are focused on “creating the healthiest soil possible” in which to grow their grapes, as well as to capture the unique terroir of their vineyard in each bottle and glass.We spoke to Quivira winemaker Hugh Chappelle about the increasingly widespread popularity of organic and Biodynamic wines, the process of meeting Biodynamic standards, and the unique traits of both the Grenache and the Sauvignon Blanc.As you’ll see, Hugh can teach you a lot from just a twenty-minute chat.For our readers who may not understand the difference between an organic and standard wine, can you explain the difference? Basically there are four main categories in the wine business now. First, there is conventional where basically anything goes. Wines under ten dollars fall into that category. Then there is sustainable, which does require a certification. Sustainable wine production allows for modern materials to be used for controlling pests, mold and mildew. It emphasizes cover crops, composting, owl boxes and other eco-friendly practices even though it does allow for modern approaches.Organic wines are different because there is a long list of things you are not allowed to use. A lot of synthetics that are now used to control powdered mildew – things like pesticides and weed killers. Other than that, pretty much anything goes.Then there are biodynamic wines, which is the Quivira focus. To be biodynamic, you first have to be certified organic, which is a three-year process. After that, there is another three-year process for the biodynamic certification. Biodynamics has a whole list of things that you have to actually do.What are some of those?They include a composting regimen, specific field sprays for the soil, and above ground field sprays for the health of the plant tissue. There are certain field sprays you have to implement for biodynamic certification and then others you have to undertake based on your environmental conditions. Biodynamic regulations also strongly recommend that you plan your growing schedule on the lunar calendar. The biodynamic twist adds a bit of homeopathic element to the whole winemaking process.Are biodynamic wines rarer to see?No. When you look around the world, most of the top vineyards in France and Germany are organic or biodynamic—especially in Burgandy. In Champagne, of all places, Roederer is farming about four hundred hectares biodynamically. It’s entering the mainstream a lot more than people think.The Sauvignon Blanc has an earthier taste, which you describe as grassy. How intentional was that result?On that wine we’re really going for a more complex expression of Sauvignon Blanc. This is a more sophisticated wine that is inspired by the Sauvignon Blancs from the Loire Valley in France. We’re not trying to copy those wines, but to showcase our own unique microclimate with that inspiration in mind. There are very few additives in our wine. It’s more of a connoisseur’s Sauvignon Blanc. But when an average person tastes it, they will notice that it has a much richer, layered “mouth feel.”The finish isn’t very alcoholic. What can that be attributed to?That’s due to the lack of additives. The wild yeast takes much longer to ferment, so that helps the wine have a much smoother finish. It creates a creamier, rounder “mouth feel.” It’s definitely a signature of that wine.Related: Three Red Wines To Kick 2015 Off RightI also noticed that if you tip the glass at a sharp angle, there is a scent of grape leaf. Is that something you have found as well?Those grape varietals by their very nature have a grassy, leafy flavor. We’re not afraid if some of that makes it into the wine.Can you explain the key characteristics of the Grenache? What should our readers be looking for?Grenache is a wonderful grape and it’s becoming better known. Rhone wines and reds are picking up. The signature of Grenache is a perfumy, strawberry flavor. It can be crushed, fresh strawberries or dried strawberries or even strawberry jam. Grenache can also be a bit of a chameleon. You have lighter more quaffable styles of Grenache as well as old-vine versions of Grenache from Spain and France. It has a lot of similarities to pinot noir, but with firmer, drier tanins. It’s best suited with a meal.The nose and finish are both very spicy, what brings that element to the profile of the wine?That’s actually a regional character. The northern California Grenaches are spicier than the central California versions. What we like to do with the Grenache is put the whole grape stem in with the grape clusters into the fermentation tank. It adds spiciness and slows the fermentation down. We like having the two fermentations take place to bring a more complex flavor to the wine.Is that a common practice with Grenache?It’s very common in pinot and shiraz, but less common in Grenache.What else separates Quivira’s Grenache from others on the market?We age the Grenache exclusively in large casks. Most wineries have 60 gallon barrels, but we use the barrels that are use in the South of France that are 10-15 times larger. We just get the best result. We are more reliably able to capture the strawberry flavor in the wine by bottling from those large barrels. It helps our wine become more consistent year in and year out. Editors’ Recommendations last_img read more

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UNHRC told to maintain scrutiny on Lanka

Human rights groups, have in a letter to Ambassadors of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), urged them to maintain the fullest scrutiny of Sri Lanka on questions of justice and accountability.In the letter, released by the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, the human rights groups noted that although it is to be acknowledged that since January Sri Lanka’s government has induced some positive change in easing the abusive human rights climate of the previous Presidency, it must also be recognised that many challenges still remain unaddressed. In the hurry to acknowledge changes, member states of the UN Human Rights Council and the UN as a whole should not let go of the many fundamental challenges that remain. This includes ensuring that any mechanism created to address wartime abuses is defined through genuine consultations with those affected by violations; one that has their confidence and not one imposed on them from the above. To this end the government should be guided by the advice of UN experts that victims be consulted and involved, and it should announce and implement a convincing framework for such a credible process, within a clear timeframe. Given the track record of past domestic inquiries, any mechanism needs to be international, or at a minimum one with a majority of international judges and prosecutors, in order to guarantee its independence and give greater security to those who participate in it. The letter said the government must also keep its promise to the UN and fully cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and allow it full access to any new or additional information it may require.The letter was endorsed by the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Conectas Direitos Humanos, Human Rights Law Centre, International Commission of Jurists, International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism, International Service for Human Rights and Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice. (Colombo Gazette) The human rights groups said the government in Sri Lanka should meet three key tests before September 2015 in demonstrating genuine willingness towards establishing a credible and transparent justice and accountability process. read more

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Xstrata smelting decision a carbon price warning

first_imgXstrata Mount Isa Mines has announced plans to sustain the future of its Mount Isa operations through expanded mining and concentrate production, while phasing out copper smelting at Mount Isa and refining operations in Townsville by the end of 2016. The future for the north Queensland operations includes the expansion of existing mines and the potential development of new ones at Mount Isa and the broader region. This would also include the continuation of lead smelting and the expansion of port facilities in Townsville and create long-term employment.“The shutdown of Xstrata’s copper smelting and refining operations in Queensland is a timely warning of the fragility of the Australian resource sector’s global competitiveness,” Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said.Xstrata Copper North Queensland Chief Operating Officer Steve de Kruijff said the plan to phase out the copper smelting and refining operations in north Queensland and focus on further development of copper mining and concentrate production projects had not been adopted lightly, but was a necessary response to changing global market conditions.He said: “Market conditions have been very challenging for copper smelting and refining operations as a result of overcapacity in the global market, low treatment and refining charges and increasing operating and capital costs.  The economic viability of our Mount Isa copper smelting and refining operations has been under increasing pressure for a number of years and cannot be sustained in the long term.  We need to evolve our business to ensure we can secure the future of our operations for the long term.“Our operational plan over the next five years will see significant investment in north Queensland to focus on exporting mineral concentrates, along with the development of the necessary infrastructure to increase rail and port capacity.”“Xstrata Copper has made it clear that the competitiveness of their smelting and refining operations had been ‘hit for six’ by the combination of cheaper, newer Chinese plant and rising costs here in Australia, and not in anticipation of a carbon price,” Roche said. ‘What the Xstrata decision does demonstrate is that even very energy-efficient operations such as those operated by them in Queensland cannot compete against cheaper alternatives.‘My fear is that these closures are a foretaste of what will follow if the Federal Parliament agrees to impose an uncompetitive carbon price regime on our trade-exposed resource sector industries.’De Kruijff underlined Xstrata’s commitment to its workforce and the surrounding communities. “We want to make it absolutely clear that we value our people. Our main priority is to ensure employees remain with the business and we will be working closely with our workforce to deliver retraining and retention packages to support our operations well into the future.”Xstrata holds worldclass mineral resources in Mount Isa which includes 587 Mt of zinc mineral resources and 416 Mt of copper mineral resources (Measured, Indicated and Inferred). These resources are potentially accessible through expanded underground and open pit operations, and concept studies into the further development of these substantial known mineral resources are progressing.Xstrata is currently investing A$63 million to expand its Mount Isa zinc-lead mining operations with four significant development projects currently under construction, and a further A$300 million of potential expansions under evaluation. This includes the A$274 million George Fisher mine expansion that will increase production by 1 Mt to 4.5 Mt by 2013, and the A$113 million Black Star Deeps open pit expansion to extend its life of mine to 2016.In relation to copper operations, Xstrata is currently investing A$589 million in the transformation of its Ernest Henry open pit mine to a long term underground mine and the construction of an associated magnetite processing facility.  It has also recently announced an intention to invest A$175 million in the acquisition of two copper projects from Exco Resources.       In terms of environmental performance, Xstrata has invested over A$275 million on more than 220 environmental initiatives since acquiring Mount Isa Mines in 2003 and is committed to investing an additional A$360 million to further improve environmental performance.Xstrata Mount Isa Mines will soon submit an Environmental Management Plan to the Queensland government outlining and seeking endorsement for Xstrata’s long-term strategy for sustaining its Mount Isa Mines operations. “We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and we are committed to complying with all environmental objectives as required by the new regulations.”Xstrata will continue to work closely with the Queensland Government, its employees and local communities to implement its long-term strategy for sustainable operations in north Queensland.Roche said that all the evidence pointed to a revived CPRS-style carbon pricing scheme destroying jobs across the Queensland resource sector. ‘It is not too late for the federal government to embrace a better way – one that safeguards our global competitiveness.’He urged the Federal Government to follow Europe’s lead in taking a transitional approach to carbon pricing for emissions-intensive industries competing globally. The EU emissions trading system from 2013 will extend up to 100% free allowances to 73% of EU exports until 2020 to reduce the costs for those deemed to be exposed to significant competition from outside the EU.“At the top of that list are Europe’s mining, minerals processing and metals refining industries.” Roche also called on the Queensland Government to take a stronger position with their federal colleagues over the vital importance of safeguarding trade-exposed industries. “The Premier said recently that her carbon price ‘wish list’ included compensation for trade-exposed industries that was at least as favourable as under the CPRS.“The Premier needs to tell the Prime Minister that a CPRS-style approach to compensation is simply inadequate.” Roche said that under a CPRS-style compensation package the coal mining industry alone would incur carbon costs of A$18 billion by 2020 that would jeopardise investment and jobs in Queensland’s biggest export industry.last_img read more

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