View Archive The Sixteen 600 Blog By Sam Coturri

Category - CSV,Phil Sent Me,Dos Limones,organic,cover crop
Posted - 11/11/2014 11:25pm
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Community Supported Viticulture
In 1978, when Phil Coturri began the converting Dos Limones Vineyard to certified organic, he couldn’t turn to any organic grape growing resources for advice, there weren’t any yet.

His peers were in the organic vegetable world. Bob Cannard was converting a neighboring property from an overworked turkey farm into the lush organic garden that would eventually supply Chez Panise. Amigo Contisano and company had just established their first organic standards at CCOF a few years before.  Phil had to adapt organic farming practices to work in the vineyard.

Winter cover crops took the place of crop rotation and fallow fields. Compost tea was injected into the drip irrigation instead of the sprinkler system. He used shovels and hoes to clear the space around the vines in the same way Bob or Amigo would have prepped for a row crop; eliminating the use of glyphosphate (brandname rhymes with BoundCup) in the vineyard. So as organic agriculture developed so did organic viticulture.

However, the correlation between vegetable gardens and vineyards ended once the respective crops were harvested. Grapes go to a winery where it will take anywhere from several months to a few years to become a finished product. For the most part, vegetables are a finished product the minute they are picked and need to reach their final destination ASAP. Supplying restaurants and other retail outlets is always important, but those first organic vegetable growers knew they wanted to establish a direct connection from the farm the plate; a relationship between the farmer and the consumer.

This desire spawned a dual revolution in how people get their vegetables- Farmers’ Markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) boxes. This gave consumers the best access to the freshest, seasonal organic produce and a chance to connect a face to the farm.

As Phil perfected his grape growing practices that direct connection became more than a ethos or an esoteric notion. Phil, and the dozens of winemakers he works with, discovered that the grapes he grew made wines that distinctly reflected the terroir of the vineyards were they grew. His attention to detail in the vineyard led to an exactness of flavors in the wine. Enlivened soils and robust ecological harmony creates bold lively wine that retains balance. Phil's farming created a direct connection from the vineyard to the wine drinker that could be bottled and saved for decades. Winery Sixteen 600 was founded with a similar desire, to create a direct connection from the vineyard to the wine glass. Sixteen 600's distinct, terroir-driven, single-vineyard wines epitomize the relation ship between the farmer and the wine he produces.

When seeking a way to bring that relationship to YOUR wine glass we created our version of the CSA box. Community Supported Viticulture allows you to join a community that simple knows that it takes great grapes to make great wine.

Our twice yearly (spring and fall) Phil Sent Me CSV boxes will include Phil’s selection of current releases, essentially our fresh produce. There are a few different CSV membership variations: Winegrower’s Choice includes 6 bottles for $270 plus shipping, Winegrower’s Select is 12 bottles for $540 shipping included. For the third version, Winegrower’s Reserve, members select their own mix case, priced according to the selection with shipping included.

Phil Sent Me CSV membership will include annual pick-up parties, premier access to special release wines and olive oil, free private tours and tastings and other benefits.

Joining is easy, simply order your first CSV box and you are in. The first box will ship immediately.

Community Supported Viticulture

Phil pruning at Dos Limones circa 2013

Phil (and Sam) pruning circa 1984

Our first Moon Mountain District label

Phil in the cellar

A Moon Mountain District tour with Phil

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Category - Dos Limones, Organic, Vineyard, Syrah
Posted - 02/28/2013 12:33am
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Dos Limones Vineyard
Sixteen 600 is the address of our estate Zinfandel. We use that name because our wines express the terroir of the vineyards they are grown in as specifically as an address represents a vineyard location. Most of our photographs and activity on our social media outlets comes (Facebook and Instagram) from the Sixteen 600 Estate, however it's not the only vineyard where we source our grapes.
Syrah with a View
Our Syrah and some future Zinfandel come from a vineyard on the western side of Sonoma Valley tucked into a plateau about a third of the way up the eastern slope of Sonoma Mountain. The vineyard, one of Phil's first projects for the nascent Enterprise Vineyards, is known as Dos Limones.

Let's let Phil explain why...
Dos Limones is a six and half acre vineyard at 1000' elevation, though the Syrah block is tiny, less than 3/4 of an acre of Estrella Clone Syrah. The Estrella Clone was one of the first Syrah clones to flourish in California, it is known for dark roasted flavors belied by an elegant fruit forward bouquet. As Phil said in the video, the elevation, the wind and air flow and the exposure allow for natural frost protection. The vineyard faces Southeast and sits just above the fog line, this creates cool, breezy sunny mornings and warm summer days, perfect weather to get ripe Syrah flavors. But more than being a great place to grow Syrah, Dos Limones holds a special place for Phil and Sixteen 600.
An itsy-bitsy block of Syrah
The time was the 1974. Phil Coturri had just graduated from Sonoma State University with degree in American Literature with an emphasis in poetry. With his degree and general disposition it was pretty obvious that he was never going to work for "the Man", a fact that was fine with both Phil and "the Man." So he gathered some friends and associates and started a small vineyard management company named after Enterprise Road in Glen Ellen, where Phil lived on the family vineyard. One his first clients was a man named Myron Frieberg, the original owner of the Dos Limones property. In addition to a vineyard, Myron rented a house on the property to a family raising small children. One day, in a heady fog of business ownership (and the 70's in general) Phil applied RoundUp to the vinerows, just like all the other grape growers did. This angered the tenants, worried about the health of their children and Myron told Phil to find another way. Myron challenged Phil to adapt the techniques he used in the garden and put them to work in the vineyard. With Myorn's spark and the early wisdom of the just born organic movement, Phil set out to create an organic method to farm wine grapes and changed an industry along the way.
The Master at Work

Thirty eight years later, the vineyard still flourishes and while Myron is no longer with us, his impact is still felt by Winery Sixteen 600, Enterprise Vineyards and the wine industry at large. Dos Limones may be an exceptional vineyard with distinct terroir but more importantly it reminds us it takes vision and foresight to make great wine.

Sidenote: Longtime family friend and one of Sixteen 600's favorite photogs, Marc Evans actually beat Phil to Dos Limones when Myron picked him up hitch-hiking and then hired him to help clean up after the freeze of 1973. It is unclear if Phil and Marc met there, as both are either unable or unwilling to disclose how the met.
Marc- We'll have to get you back up there with real camera, instead of my iPhone...

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