‘Natural Wine’ Pioneer Joins the Craft Wine Association

September 4, 2018 at 12:00 AM
by Craft Wine Association

At the heart of the Craft Wine Association’s mission is the celebration and promotion of small, family owned wineries like Old World Winery. Located in the iconic Sonoma County wine region of Northern California, Old World Winery has access to some of the area’s finest vineyards and produces just 2000 cases of natural wine a year. Relying on 20 years of experience and finely honed intuition, winemaker Darek Trowbridge practiced “natural winemaking” long before the popular trend had a name.

“One of the difficulties of making natural wine was trying to sell it when no one knew what it was. I almost gave it up,” says Darek. “I don’t have a PR budget, so connecting my wine with people has been a real challenge. The Craft Wine Association is helping to tell my story, and that’s means a lot to me.”

Darek’s family has grown grapes in Sonoma County since the late 1800s, including the biodynamically farmed A.J. Duckhorn Vineyard, which Darek’s great grandfather planted in 1890. Darek takes a hands-off approach in winemaking. Guiding instead of manipulating fermentation allows more of the pure character of the grape to come through on the palate.

By using centuries old winemaking practices, Old World Winery makes unique and delicious wines. All of the grapes are stomped by foot before fermentation avoiding any mechanized methods like a destemmer. Darek does not inoculate the resulting juice with yeast, instead he allows the natural wild yeasts on the grapes to develop the wine’s aromas and flavors.

“To me, it makes sense that yeast play a primary role in whether or not a wine has terroir,” says Darek. “That’s when you get into the minutia, the fine details of how something tastes. Each yeast creates a different flavor component, and that creates complexity, and originality in the wine.”

Every year, Old World Winery produces a variety of wines and a barrel-aged hard apple cider using winemaking techniques. Abundance is a beloved wine and features the unadulterated mix of red and white grape varieties: Muscadelle, Abouriou, Zinfandel, Mondeuse Noire, Trousseau Gris, and Chasselas. Instead of processing each grape variety by itself and, then, blending them together, Darek co-ferments the grapes all at once. This lets the grapes integrate from the beginning of harvest. “It creates a synergy.” and a wine with captivating aromas of cherries, peaches, and spices, grounded in an earthiness that resonates. An excellent food companion wine.

Luminous is another rare gem from Old World Winery. Darek farms the only 4-acres of Abouriou grapes left in the United States. Originating in the Basque region of France and Spain, wines made from Abouriou grapes are dark scarlet in color, have aromas filled with deep, dark fruit scents and vivid ripe plum and blackberry fruit on the palate. Luminous

is a wine that immediately grabs your attention.

Growing up in a multigenerational Californian winemaking family, Darek says he draws wisdom from the family history and depends on intuition and artistry to direct his innovative style. “Winemaking and farming are a sacred ritual,” says Darek. “It’s all about purity and transparency in fruit and form. That is my guiding principle.

To learn more: http://www.oldworldwinery.com/