We have a great five-minute video of how biodynamic farming is implemented at the vineyards of the Montemaggiore Winery near the town of Healdsburg. We interviewed winery owner Vince Ciolino as he walked us through his hillside vineyards in the Dry Creek Valley. Vince along with his wife Lise are the owners of this beautiful winery. Lise is the winemaker and Vince is the vineyard manager. The wines are Rhone style wines and the emphasis is on Syrah. The winery is open only by appointment, but don’t let that stop you from visiting. If you are looking for something very different from the standard tasting room fare, then you will find a visit to Montemaggiore an exciting diversion.
One of the coolest and most unusual biodynamic practices at Montemaggiore is the use of chickens. The winery has 15 chickens that live in a chicken coup on wheels. This little chicken habitat is an exact replica of the winery. Vince can move the chicken coup to various locations on his estate vineyards to do their work. The chickens leave the coup periodically to roam the vines in search of insects. They scratch the soil with their claws to find the bugs. That scratching helps mix in the natural compost that Vince has applied to the vines. The chickens eat tons of insects and that removes many an insect pest from the vines.
Watch the video to get an idea of what goes on at a biodynamic vineyard.
Nearby from Montemaggiore are two other biodynamic wineries to visit, Quivira Vineyards and Truett-Hurst. Quivira is down the road from Montemaggiore on West Dry Creek Road just passed Lambert Bridge road. If you head across Lambert Bridge Road and then turn west on Dry Creek Road, you will find Truett-Hurst down the road two miles.