At Maysara Winery we practice holistic farming, employing practices from Biodynamic agriculture. By using such methods we not only believe that we are enhancing the ecology of our land, but also growing the best grapes possible.
Located in the heart of Mcminnville, Oregon.
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The first year was spent mainly on infrastructure and land reclamation. Though the use of chemicals would have made the process much quicker and more economical, not a single one has been or will be used. Instead, the ground was turned over many times during that first summer to eliminate unwanted plants and weeds and return it to a usable state.
We began planting in March of 1998 with three blocks of self rooted Pommard clone Pinot Noir, consisting of 13 acres total. In early spring of 1999, over 120,000 plants were grafted in our own greenhouses. These vines were planted towards the end of the summer. We put quite a bit of time and research into planting different varieties in the different soil types found around the vineyard to find the best combinations possible. Today we have over 250 acres of vines planted.
In 2001 an 8-acre reservoir, the first and largest of two on the property, was completed. Fed by natural springs and run-off, they are a source of irrigation water and a new home for some rainbow trout. Rainbow trout require the purest water, and since the reservoirs sit at the lowest points on the property, we consider their thriving population a testament to our farming methods. The original 13 acres produced fruit the same year, making 2001 our first vintage.
From the beginning we felt the location had promise, and this was confirmed by our 2001 vintage. Our unique niche in the foothills of Oregon's Coastal Range separates us from valley weather influences. This microclimate provides slightly warmer days and much cooler nights with less rain. The property has highly diversified soil types consisting primarily of Nekia and Yamhill Series, laced with veins of Peavine and Jory. By training and pruning our vines to produce between 1.5 to 2 tons per acre, we believe we are getting the best fruit possible from this unique spot.
Both the vineyard and terroir are important, but vineyard practices are key. We believe that ninety percent of winemaking takes place in the vineyards. As such, we have held ourselves to a strict form of land use. Unlike conventional farming, we do not mine the land, but nurture it and reap the rewards. There is a complete absence of chemical use throughout the property. Instead we grow a variety of plants and herbs that we make into compost teas to harness their beneficial properties. It is essentially a "from nature to nature" philosophy. As such, compost and Biodynamic preparations are extremely important in our vineyards. We have multiple compost piles and as they mature, the resulting humus is worked into our vineyards and potential vineyard sites throughout the farm. It is our goal to achieve long-term earth and vine health.
We believe that healthy soil and healthy vines will produce superior grapes, without the need for commercial chemicals and man-made poisons. Our quality shows in the dedication of our grape buyers year after year, and the award winning wines they produce from the Momtazi fruit. The consistent, high quality wines made from the Momtazi fruit leads us to believe that our dedication to the terroir and our Biodynamic farming technique is well worth the effort.
Moe and Flora Momtazi founded Maysara Winery in 2001. Both are passionate about farming and wanted to make wine using holistic, naturopathic practices. After leaving Tehran, Iran in 1982, the two arrived in the United States and Moe started his civil engineering practice. Flora heads the accounting portion of the winery. Both Moe and Flora actively participate in the winemaking process from planting of the vines all the way to bottling. They are confident that wine connoisseurs and newcomers alike will enjoy Maysara's biodynamic approach to winemaking and vineyard operations.
Naseem Momtazi, Sales and Marketing
Naseem Momtazi graduated from Linfield College in May of 2009. Since graduation, Naseem has taken over sales and marketing throughout the United States as well as the International markets for Maysara Winery. Her job takes her to many different cities where she enjoys traveling and discovering new things.
Hanna Momtazi, Events Manager and Hospitality
Hanna Momtazi graduated Linfield College in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in general business. She focuses on the hospitality and serves as the events manager for weddings and events that take part at Maysara. Hanna is also heavily involved with the community and foundations that are close to the Momtazi Family.
Practices & Techniques
We distribute our own compost, inoculated with the Biodynamic preparations which we have made on own vineyard, underneath the vines as needed. We have also eliminated the use of minerals which need to be mined from the earth. Instead, we grow a variety of herbs and flowers that have been used medicinally for thousands of years (i.e. Chamomile, Dandelion, Yarrow, Valerian, Horsetail, Stinging Nettle, etc.). We make teas with them to be sprayed either on the foliage (on leaf days) or injected through the irrigation line to the root system (on root days). We apply these teas in homeopathic amounts in order to maintain the vitality and healthy immune system of the plants. Plants do not need to be shocked with penicillin like medication if they are "brought up" with healthy immunities to pests and diseases.
In the winery, we allow the native yeast found on the grape skins to naturally initiate primary fermentation. No commercial yeast or enzyme use is allowed and we do not adjust acidity or add sugar. The secondary or malolactic fermentation also occurs on its own without any additives.
Your land is roughly 540 acres, do you practice Biodynamics throughout?
Yes, our entire farm is Demeter Certified Biodynamic®. In my opinion the hardest part is gaining the knowledge and understanding of Biodynamics. When you reach this, it is easy to implement the practices throughout the entire farm. With Biodynamics it is important to not pick and choose the pieces you want to follow, but to practice this process in its entirety.
Have you seen a change in your vineyard and winery since you put into practice Biodynamics? If so, what kind of changes?
Lots of great changes have happened at Momtazi Vineyard. We were very fortunate in purchasing our property in 1997 in that it was an abandoned wheat farm and that for the 7 years prior to us purchasing no chemicals had been used. When we started planting the grapevines -- many of the sections were poor in nutrition. The grapes would get pink, but would not fully ripen. Now those same sections are producing some of our most excellent fruit. You can stroll throughout the farm and see the wildlife and biodiversity flourishing. We have seen some endangered species of butterflies in abundance. The soil color and "fluffiness" has changed drastically. We do not import any kind of fertilizer; everything comes from within our own farm. After the harvest, we send all of our animals into the vineyard and they really do a great job of balancing the land and getting rid of weeds.
As for the winemaking since we do not manipulate the wine it is a lot healthier to consume and the wine I feel "Tastes better".
Some people are skeptical of Biodynamics — why do you think that is the case? Are there any facts to prove that Biodynamics relates to science?
I don't blame the skeptics as much as I blame the early media. Many wine writers started discussing Biodynamics without having any insight into what they were talking about or at least taking the time to research what Biodynamics represents. Relating Biodynamics to "voodoo agriculture" is unjustified. Another misconception in the western world is that Rudolph Steiner came up with this method of farming. I don't want to take any credit away from Steiner as he did contribute immensely to this practice. He was a great scientist, philosopher, historian and had studied many different cultures; however, he did not pull this information together on his own. Our ancestors in many ancient cultures were very skillful in farming and knowledgeable in astronomy (the roots of Biodynamics dates back several thousands of years). Questions I would have to the skeptics are; What is wrong with the style of farming, such as Biodynamics, that believes in not using chemicals, herbicides and pesticides? What is wrong about wanting to keep our air, water and soil clean? We need to learn how the entire universe affects our lives and to look at things macroscopically rather than microscopically.
Who sparked your interest in Biodynamics?
There was no "one" particular person that "sparked" my desire in Biodynamics. I did a lot of independent reading and research to see if this was a worthwhile practice. As a young boy, my grandfather impacted me the most with his teachings about the environment and how we need to be stewards of the land, water and air around us. Keep in mind that in those days in my old country - most people thought chemical farming was the solution to all sorts of social and economic problems.
— Moe Momtazi