I grew up in Northern California and my father was a wine connoisseur in the 70's, before it was trendy. The first wine I drank legally was the Ridge Montebello Cabernet from my birth year, which was truly unforgettable and ranks in the top five wine experiences of my life.
When I met my husband Christophe I loved red wine, but my entire experience was based around California - I knew nothing about Washington State wine. I was a virtual blank slate. Christophe, half French and already steeped in the industry through his family winery, was my guide.
I underwent a steep learning curve - some of my first dinner's with the in-laws included blind tastings - but a passion for Washington vineyards, specifically the Red Mountain AVA, became ingrained quickly. In addition to Washington wines, I learned to enjoy so many other wines by cultivating an appreciation for place, otherwise known as terroir.
When Christophe and I were married in 2004 instead of taking a honeymoon we put everything we had into a piece of land on Red Mountain, and planted a vineyard.
We planted four acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and within a few years built our home on our vineyard property. The initial focus was on our growing family - two little boys certainly made life exciting - and I was content to remain a farmer, and proud to contribute to the Red Mountain terroir; plus, I was busy with toddlers.
Living in our vineyard (we literally throw our compost out into the rows), while raising small children, it seemed imperative that we grow the grapes in the healthiest, most sustainable way possible, while also doing our utmost to showcase true Red Mountain terroir. Organic farming, while admirable, offered little in the way of tangible guidelines. We decided to work toward Biodynamic certification.
Biodynamic farming gave us a way to rigorously control outside inputs into the vineyard - for example, any manure we add comes from local, certified organic dairy farms - but also to cultivate a near wild ecosystem. We grow Locust trees, which are nitrogen fixing (and bee friendly!), and also native wildflowers and sage. We were certified in 2011.
By 2014 we were in a rhythm in the vineyard. The vines were healthy and maturing, and the fruit was consistently impressive. The time was ripe (pun intended) for a wine from Magdalena Vineyard.
The first vintage of Domaine Magdalena is the culmination of ten years of work and love. It's a given that Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is well known, but Domaine Magdalena brings this piece of the earth to life.
The main tenet of Biodynamics is minimal inputs, to allow things to grow the way they would without human intervention. Our winemaking philosophy emulates this. In fact, we think of winemaking more as 'fermentation management'. My sister in law, Sarah Hedges oversees the critical fermentation process.
Domaine Magdalena undergoes a spontaneous native yeast fermentation. Following the completion of malo-lactic (secondary) fermentation, the wine was stored in neutral oak barrels for about seven months. Bottled in May, Domaine Magdalena 2014 is vibrant and complex. Unmasked by unnecessary oak or time in barrel, it is the truest expression of our land and its story in the year of 2014.
We look forward to farming, fermenting, and drinking the produce of our land for years to come. I hope you will be with us for the journey.