King Estate completes conversion to biodynamic

By on October 15, 2016
King Estate near Eugene, Ore.

King Estate, one of Oregon’s largest wineries, has converted its operation to certified biodynamic. (Photo courtesy of King Estate)

EUGENE, Ore. – King Estate, one of Oregon’s largest wine producers, now is the largest certified biodynamic vineyard in the United States.

“Achieving Demeter certification holds us to the highest possible standard in sustainable agriculture, said founder and CEO Ed King. “It is testimony to the grit and determination of King Estate’s people to go beyond organic and do our part to protect the Earth for future generations.”

Demeter certification goes well beyond organic practices, including:

* 10 percent of the total acreage must be set aside for biodiversity purposes.

* Fertilizers are generated on the farm itself with only a limited amount brought in.

* Pest, disease and weed control and livestock feed all come from the farm itself to the greatest extent possible. This is accomplished through the use of nine preparations, a hallmark of the Demeter process that are made from herbs, minerals and animal manures that are then used in sprays and composts.

Path began with King family in 1991

King Estate construction reached high gear in 1993 as its estate vineyards were being established. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

King Estate construction reached high gear in 1993 as its estate vineyards were being established. (Photo by Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

Sustainable farming is nothing new for King Estate, the 1,033-acre vineyard and winery known for its Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir and award-winning restaurant. The winery has been certified organic since 2002. But Demeter certification as biodynamic represents a major step forward in King Estate’s commitment to sustainable agriculture.

King Estate applied for certification in September 2015 and was designated as “in conversion” to biodynamic status in January. In order to receive full Demeter certification, the vineyard must complete a full agricultural cycle following Demeter practices and pass an inspection. This happened July 5, and certification was effective Sept. 23.

With the addition of King Estate, Oregon is home to more than 30 percent of the biodynamic vineyards in the United States. Before King Estate’s conversion, the largest biodynamic vineyard in Oregon was 286 acres. Oregon has 17 biodynamic vineyards.

“The trend toward biodynamic agriculture is unmistakable and irreversible as consumers and growers alike see the benefits of holistic and regenerative farming,” said Elizabeth Candelario, Demeter managing director, who is based in Corvallis. “Every farm or vineyard that achieves certification represents progress, and when farms the size of King Estate take this step, it shows that these farming ideals can be scaled to larger operations. We welcome King Estate to the Demeter family and know that they can join us in our vision to help heal our planet through agriculture.”

The property includes 150 acres of marshes, a riparian corridor and a segment of wet prairie is home to up to 200 species of native wildlife including several listed as rare, threatened or endangered. King Estate partners with the Cascades Raptor Center to serve as a release site for orphaned and rehabilitated birds of prey, which also help control rodents and grape-eating birds.

There also are 4,144 solar panels spread across 4 acres, producing enough power to meet the needs of 100 homes a year and eliminate more than 38 million pounds of carbon dioxide during the next 25 years.

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About Great Northwest Wine

Articles authored by Great Northwest Wine are co-authored by Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue. In most cases, these are wine reviews that are judged blind by the Great Northwest Wine tasting panel.

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