As soon as I attempt to distinguish the share of any one sense from that of the others,
I inevitably sever the full participation of my sensing body from the sensuous terrain. Many indigenous peoples
construe awareness, or “mind,” not as a power that resides inside their heads, but rather as a quality that
they themselves are inside of along with the other animals and plants, the mountains, and the clouds.
David Abram, author, The Spell of the Sensuous
We are, in the purest sense of the word, farmers. We are entrusted with three unique vineyard sites each chosen for their ability to deliver world class fruit as a result of our careful labors. The finest winemakers, and thus the finest wines, spend far more time in their vineyards than cellars. Only then can one sense the needs of his vines and react – or not – accordingly.
We are incredibly intimate with each of our Estate Vineyards – Mill Creek Upland, Loess, and Seven Hills. Each was chosen for their unique soils, slopes, aspects, and mesoclimates. We farm our vineyards intensively by hand, with a focus on sustainability, making every one of the hundreds of decisions in a season without ever compromising quality for the sake of convenience or cost.
Each of our vineyard soils shapes the wine that comes from it. This is the essence of terroir. The soil of Seven Hills, at the south end of the Valley, is Ellisford Silt Loam. This soil is "lighter"–meaning it has a higher sand content and less clay than our other two vineyards. This soil structure provides very high-tone floral aromatics and beautiful red fruits. The wine's structure mirrors that of the soil, being less tannic and quite feminine. Both Loess and Mill Creek Upland Vineyards are made up predominately of Walla Walla Silt Loam. This soil is very deep, heavier, but still very well drained. The soil's impact on the wine imparts black fruits, very dense in structure, and masculine.
Although the word “sustainable” is often overused without meaning in today’s business world, it is a philosophy we have embraced wholeheartedly as a multigenerational family owned winery. We begin by analyzing how our farming operations impact the short and long-term health of the soil and the above ground vineyard environment.
This dictates decisions such as, whether to spray or not, how soon after rain to allow tractors back in the vineyard, optimizing water use through technological advances, and utilizing cover and companion crops to increase biodiversity in the vineyard environment. We even go so far as having our own on-site composting operation and compost tea brewing system. This philosophy also impacts how we interact with our vineyard neighbors, how we treat our employees, and even the type of packaging we use.
The end goal is to run our business in a manner that ensures we are able to produce the same, or greater, quality of wines generations from now, while doing our part to preserve our natural resources. While not always easy or inexpensive, the single greatest reason for implementing such management is that it is simply the right thing to do. To learn more about our sustainable winegrowing practices, please visit the website of Walla Walla Valley Sustainable Winegrowers Trust, (Vinea), at www.vineatrust.org. There you can download the technical guidelines that we have been instrumental in implementing by heading up the technical committee of this organization. These guidelines will provide you the peace of mind that we are respectful of our viticultural environment and that Leonetti wines will be produced in the true sense of sustainability for future generations of your family….. By future generations of ours.