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Troon has natural way with food, wine

Evident in every aspect of Troon Vineyard are its viticultural and agricultural ethics.

From the moment I arrived at Troon’s 50th Anniversary Farm to Table Dinner, that level of care was apparent. Each person arriving at the Applegate estate on the 101-degree day was greeted with cold water — poured and handed to us in a glass, not a disposable cup.

The tour began under large shade trees. With mountainous drama and sunshine as the backdrop, Garrett Long, director of agriculture, informed us the Klamath/Siskiyou region is the most biodiverse in the country. He continued, “We have this incredibly biodiverse area that is the context for this vineyard, and then within that context we are trying to elevate and maximize diversity to the greatest extent possible.”

Troon Vineyard is Demeter biodynamic certified and Regenerative Organic certified (ROC), both agricultural certifications and systems-based approaches founded on reciprocity through the interaction of individual processes — and the way they relate to each other — to create and enhance a dynamic, larger whole.

Walking along vineyards, past chickens, through the vibrantly blooming cut-flower gardens for the reception, I almost forgot it was hot. Under the sun-marbled, wood-beamed pergola, we were treated to savory hors d’oeuvres paired with just-released 2021 Piquette! This spread of all farm-grown veggies — beets, parsnips, carrots, pickled radishes — were cured with kōji, the same mold used for sake and soy, which both cures and hydrates.

Fizzy and a little punchy, but crisp, the piquette as explained by winemaker Nate Wall, “is an example of a regenerative mindset because you’re basically reusing a waste stream. Piquette is made from partially pressed grapes that are then rehydrated overnight in the press. I’ll actually add water, then the next morning will press again. We’ll get this second flush of sugars that have basically hydrolyzed out into the water from the grape skins … which gives me opportunity to recycle some of the sugar that would otherwise be lost to the compost pile.”

Along the path from the reception, the Great Pyrenees protectors were hanging out in the grass. These dogs have an important job to do and must love their work, as they looked so happy. I’m sure they were smiling.

These livestock guardians are there to protect the sheep and chickens. This breed has an instinctive sense about keeping vigilant watch for predators during the day, but especially through the night — voice intimidation prioritized.

The spacious lawn was elegantly set with round tables covered by white tablecloths, sparkling glassware and freshly cut flowers. The menu promised an abundant bounty harvested from current gardens and Troon’s ever-expanding permaculture-style food forest. This orchard-style planting integrates nitrogen-producing herbs, vines, fruits, vegetables, root crops, flowers and more that create terroir specific to these vineyards.

The night of this historical celebration ended sofa-lounging on the large, new deck watching the golden sun brilliantly set. The only sound was sporadic barking in the background protecting the lambs and chickens.

Troon pioneers a return to an “all by hand” natural way of growing food and wine, which offers numerous opportunities for re-wilding and regenerating healthy ecology.

More on that in my next column: where they’ve come from, where they are and what’s in the future at Troon.

Reach Paula Bandy at pbthegrapevine@gmail. com and connect with her on Instagram at @ pbthroughthegrapevine