For the curious palate....In the wine world, tradition often tempers creativity, individuality and imagination. But at Imagery Estate Winery, an unconventional approach inspires richly expressive wines and a wine drinking experience that entices you to broaden your palate.
Dedicated to crafting small quantities of rare wines from uncommon varieties and character rich vineyards, Imagery Estate Winery was born of a thirst for experimentation and willingness to take risks.
Biodynamics at ImageryBiodynamics® is a holistic farming approach that was developed in the 1920s by Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian scientist-philosopher who developed Waldorf education. In 2001, the Demeter Association certified the 20-acre Imagery estate Biodynamic. The adjacent 40-acre Sunny Slope Vineyard, on which the Benzigers hold a 30-year lease, is in transition and will achieve Biodynamic certification in 2006.
While it encompasses many of the principles of organic farming, such as the elimination of all chemicals, Biodynamics goes further, requiring close attention to the varied forces of nature influencing the vine. It also emphasizes a closed nutrient and self-sustaining ecosystem.For Joe Benziger, the biggest distinction is in the bottle. "I think Biodynamic farming makes a better wine," he says. "It allows me to develop more flavor in the grape and get the grape more ripe without decay. We can pick the fruit later in our Biodynamic vineyards with the fruit 100 percent intact and very extractable."
A Hands on ApproachA hands-on approach in combination with healthy vines gives Joe the confidence to grow the intensely flavorful grapes he desires. To elevate the health on the Imagery estate and Sunny Slope Vineyard, he enlisted the help of Alan York, a world-renowned Biodynamic practitioner and horticulturist, who was hired by Benziger Family Winery in 1996 to convert the family estate to a Biodynamic farm. Conversion of the Imagery estate and neighboring Sunny Slope Vineyard represents an ongoing and significant commitment. A wastewater pond and composting site has been created on the Imagery estate to recycle organic winery and vineyard waste back into the land. The result is a unique soil ecology of microorganisms indigenous to the property. A wildlife sanctuary, designed to encourage a natural predator-prey relationship on the estate, is currently underway.