Since becoming a Mom, it’s become more priority to be educated about what I’m feeding my family and the things we put in our bodies. As a consumer, I do my research, but also don’t let fear take over our lives. A concept recently introduced to me is ‘Customer Certification’ and I find it applies to SO MANY aspects of our everyday interactions. To me, Customer Certification directly correlates with Honesty in Marketing - building trust with your consumers by sharing the details of your process and products. At our winery, we’re offering that open door / open record book policy to empower you to make your own educated decision about our wines. Wine is our passion - have a question? we're happy to answer!
If you don’t know, my husband Preston is an engineer and is therefore ALWAYS re-inventing, changing, and improving our production methods and practices. It annoys me to no end – I’m the ‘be happy with what you have’ kind of mentality. But his heart is in the right place and his knowledge and resources have been INVALUABLE (and just in case he reads this – yes, it’s me publicly admitting you’re right).
So, did you know that in recent years we’ve been working toward using organic chemicals and ingredients whenever possible, both in the vineyard and in wine making? We make every effort to look at all facets of sustainability – people, profits, and planet.
Keeping the vineyard healthy is TOUGH in the Midwest. Humidity can be incredibly detrimental for our vines because of all the fungal diseases that thrive in this kind of environment. The kids and I spend many hours and put many miles on the stroller every season scouting for pests and disease. Just the act of putting boots on the ground and eyes on the plants can help reduce the number of spray applications. Why spray when you don’t need to? Fertilizers are important too – our strategy is to target (based on soil samples of our vineyard) only what is needed and timing application only when the plant needs the nutrient most. We spend HOURS reading about each product we use, carefully considering all pro’s and con’s, and are making the effort to choose organic whenever feasible. However, I think it's important to say when it comes to the quality of finished wine at the end of the day, we won't sacrifice.
Crop Scouting is hard work! More vineyard details to come in future blog.
Once the grapes are harvested and arrive at the winery to be processed, we have another huge wave of decisions to be made. We’re proud to share that ALL our wines currently in production are Vegan and Gluten-Free (contain no vegans – for you dad joke lovers out there). The majority of ingredients in the wine making process are also certified organic, with the exception of our yeast. Very few certified organic yeasts are commercially available, so much so that organic certification actually allows this exception. The yeast added represents only 0.01% of the total, and virtually no yeast remain in the final product. We'll dive deeper into what's in your wine in a future blog.
While I don’t see us pursuing actual organic certification in the immediate future, we’re challenging YOU to keep us ‘Customer Certified.’ Ask questions. Let us get out the records and show you. Our family works and plays in these vineyards, so we want them to be as safe as possible both for our family and yours. We strive to be a resource for you and build consumer trust. Be educated about where your food [and beverages] are coming from and vote with your wallet to be a direct influencer of what’s important to you.
Thanks for following along in our journey. Your presence here means so much to us and we hope you find the content interesting, educational, and entertaining!
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Preston and Amber both grew up on farms in Northwest Iowa. They share a passion for the outdoors and enjoy taking on new projects to see what adventures will be discovered. As high school sweethearts, they attended Iowa State University together, and now are continuing to pursue their dreams at Backcountry Winery.