As Bob Lindquist and his wife, winemaker Louisa Sawyer Lindquist, prepared to plant the Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard (SLV) in 2005, they made a commitment to sustainable farming. Their good friend Steve Beckmen (Beckmen Vineyards) had been growing superior fruit at his Purisima Mountain Vineyard using biodynamics - a system devised in the 1920s that treats the vineyard as a self-contained, living organism. The couple was intrigued, despite the fact that so much about biodynamics seemed difficult to understand.
During the winter of 2004/2005, heavy rains delayed preparations for planting the vineyard and in May, Bob traveled to the United Kingdom on a pre-scheduled sales trip.
"Fate came into play," Bob remembers. "My agent picked me up and said, 'I hope you don't mind, but Andre Ostertag and Dominique Lafon are doing a seminar on biodynamics this afternoon. Would you like to attend with me?' I thought, 'This was meant to be!'"
The seminar was an eye-opener for Bob, who then shared dinner and several bottles of wine with Andre and Dominique. The two explained to Bob that the best way to implement biodynamic techniques was to start before the vineyard was planted.
The next day over lunch, Bob questioned Andre about biodynamics, including some of the more arcane aspects, such as making soil preparations by filling cow horns with combined ingredients and burying them underground for specified lengths of time. Andre, who offered logical and scientific explanations for all of the tenets of biodynamics, convinced Bob of their efficacy.
Upon returning home, Bob contacted Philippe Armenier, the French biodynamic consultant who works with Steve Beckmen. Armenier helped Bob and Louisa devise a plan for the new vineyard, and they were able to incorporate their initial biodynamic preparations into the soil before the vines were planted.
In 2008, the Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard yielded its first real crop and even on such young vines, the fruit showed extraordinary promise. A year later the vineyard earned certification as both Demeter Biodynamic and Stellar Organic, official recognitions that formalized Bob and Louisa's commitment to biodynamic farming.