Birds, Bees and Wine… Please

A visit to Quivira Winery in the Dry Creek Valley begins with a short stroll through a biodynamic garden brimming with organic vegetables, buzzing bees, cackling chickens and the promise of some pretty nifty wine.

Quivira Winery

Quivira Winery

The one-acre vegetable garden (actually dozens of raised beds heavy with summer squash and tomatoes on a recent visit) sits in front of the modern tasting room just off West Dry Creek Road outside Healdsburg. The vegetable-growing operation is a joint effort to supply local restaurants with fresh produce, with the proceeds going to charity.

Biodynamic and Organic

Quivira sits on about 60 acres of benchland and ridges alongside Wine Creek, a seasonal stream that runs through the property before emptying into Dry Creek. Quivira has been a leader in fish-friendly vineyard practices and has worked hard — as a certified biodynamic and organic winery — to be a progressive steward of the land. Check out our video tour of Quivira.

The Dry Creek Valley is an acknowledged leader in the production of zinfandel, which is the center of the Quivira universe. There are three regular zin bottlings — including the  always dependable Dry Creek Valley blend — but the syrah and grenache wines are also pretty special and there is a very good 2008 sauvignon blanc to toast the waning days of summer.

This year’s sauvignon blanc harvest is nearly done, but the vines loaded with zinfandel, syrah, grenache and some other red grapes are still waiting to be picked over the next two months.

Steven Canter

Steven Canter

Really Good Reds

The most enjoyable wine I tasted with talented winemaker Steven Canter was the 2006 Anderson Ranch zinfandel ($34). Canter explained the fresh red fruit flavors and cherry nose were characteristic of this wine, made from vines grown on a 9.5-acre tract just north of the solar-powered winery.

The 2007 Wine Creek Ranch grenache ($26) was delicious and ready for immediate enjoyment. I’d like to taste it with duck rillettes or any mild sausage grilled over vine cuttings.

Over the next few years look for some exciting new offerings from Canter, who has worked as a winemaker on three continents. He will be using some decidely un-Dry Creek Valley varietals like montepulciano (from Italy’s Abruzzo region) and abouriou (from the southwest of France).

“I’m convinced that it (montepulciano) will be a real star here,” said Canter, who believes a blend of the fruity red Italian grape with zinfandel could be a great combo.

Quivira’s tasting room is open daily. There’s a $5 tasting fee, but it’s waived if you purchase any bottle.

Upcoming Zin Event

Quivira is one of more than 30 regional wineries participating in Zintopia, a zinfandel-focused event at the Lake Sonoma Warm Springs Recreation Area from 2-7 p.m. Sept. 19.  Tickets for the tasting, put on by the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley, are $75.

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