NO TOXIC CHEMICALS. Organic Farming as practiced at King Estate means several things. First, we use no herbicides on the property. Herbicides affect organisms living in the soil, interrupting or destroying natural processes. Herbicides can result in the build up of unwanted chemicals in soils that actually inhibit healthy plant growth. Herbicides and pesticides also affect birds, mammals and other species and can find their way into surface and ground water. They can be dangerous to humans working around them. Needless to say, we don’t use toxic chemicals, or anything that is not allowed by USDA recognized certifying agencies like Oregon Tilth.
ORGANIC COMPOST. We fertilize by means of a massive composting system that currently produces 1000 tons of compost a year. Our soil health is critical to our wine’s health. It is only the soil and its microbial traits, its structure and mineral content, that can properly feed a plant and replenish what each harvest removes from the earth. We monitor, replenish, and supplement the soil’s naturally occurring potassium, phosphorous, nitrogen, and other trace elements and compounds necessary to avoid soil depletion and maintain strong, productive plants. Our soils are not unusual for Western Oregon’s hills and valleys. We have Bellpine and Jory soils mostly, with some thinner soils similar to Willakenzie. The soils contain a significant amount of clay and are typically deficient in nitrogen, phosphorous, and organic material. In addition, most soils in Western Oregon are so acidic that certain nutrients are present but unavailable to the plants because they are “bound” by other chemicals. Commercial, non-organic fertilizers often worsen the acid profiles of our Oregon soils, and the build up of salts in the soil.
Soils are complex environments. Plants like grape vines require a wide array of nutrients that are produced and made available to the plants in these environments in forms they can use. Successful organic farmers recognize and work with the natural needs of plants and the soil that feeds them.
ORGANIC PEST CONTROL. Pests are managed without the use of toxic poisons. This is achieved through integrated pest management including the strategic planting of species to attract beneficial insects and the use of raptors such as owls and kestrels. Learn more about our raptor program here.
ORGANIC SEEDS.In keeping with our Organic practices, we grow and harvest our own cover crop seed for use in our vineyards and garden areas. The seed is mostly Austrian Peas, Crimson Clover, Wheat, Oats, and some flowering perennials. This combination is what we’ve found works best in our vineyards to help supply nitrogen, act as a green manure, provide an insectuary for beneficial insects, and help suppress weeds we don’t want in our growing areas.
WHAT IS ORGANIC FARMING? Organic refers to the way agricultural products – food & fiber – are grown and processed. Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances bio diversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.
WHAT DOES ‘Certified Organic’ MEAN? The designated item has been grown according to strict uniform standards that are verified by independent state or private organizations. Certification includes inspections of farm fields and processing facilities, detailed record keeping and periodic testing of soil and water to ensure growers and handlers are meeting the standards which have been set out.
ISN’T ORGANIC FOOD JUST A FAD? No. U.S. sales of organic food products exceeded $24.6 billion in 2008. Over the past 10 years the market has grown an average of 20.2% per year.
WHAT IS OREGON TILTH? Oregon Tilth is a non-profit research and education organization certifying organic farmers, processors, retailers and handlers throughout Oregon, the United States and internationally.
ARE YOUR WINES VEGAN? ARE ANY ANIMAL PRODUCTS USED TO MAKE YOUR WINES? Our Pinot Gris is made without the use of any animal products but some of the red wines were made using eggs to filter the wine.
ARE YOUR WINES GLUTEN-FREE? According to Winemaker Jeff Kandarian, he has not added any products with gluten to the wine, but some of our barrels have been sealed with flour. So to be on the safe side, we should say there is a chance that our barrels have donated some gluten to the wine. So, no, our wines are not gluten-free.
ARE YOUR WINES ORGANIC? The 1,033-acre King Estate property is organically certified by Oregon Tilth. While our estate wines come from organically grown grapes, we do add sulfites during the winemaking process in order to preserve them from oxidation and microbial growth. As a general rule, our white wines have fewer added sulfites because the higher acid content makes them more microbially stable, but no our wines are not organic.
OUR ENVIRONMENT. Organic production systems support natural ecosystems by using sustainable farming methods. This prevents damage to natural environments from synthesized chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.
OUR WATER. Environmentally friendly farming solutions contribute to the overall quality of our lakes, rivers, estuaries, ground and drinking water.
OUR SOIL. Organic agriculture builds productive nutrient rich soil that resists topsoil erosion.
OUR FUTURE. Organic farming embraces the principle that agriculture must meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.
BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY. Organic agriculture respects diversity within the environment, including protection of plants and wildlife habitat.
OUR HEALTH. Organic production systems limit inputs of toxic chemicals into the environment. Choosing organic foods positively impacts our own family’s health and the health of farm workers.
BETTER FLAVOR. More chefs across the country are using organic ingredients. Plants from healthy soils and organically fed livestock provide us with more flavorful foods.
FAMILY FARMS. Although more large-scale farms are making the conversion to organic practices, most organic farms are small, independently-owned and operated family farms.
ENERGY SAVINGS. Organic farming is less reliant on non-renewable energy resources, substituting renewable sources or labor to the extent that is economically feasible.
A TRUE ECONOMY. Buying organic is an investment in the future of our planet. Today’s choices can free us from costly pesticide-related environmental clean-ups in the future.