Introducing the wines of Bellows Vineyard - our home farm.

In 2015 we purchased our property here on Mathews Road. It hadn't been farmed since the early 80s, so it was in terrible condition and entirely covered with brush and small trees that needed to be mowed down and chewed up. I spent hours bumping along on a brush hog before we could even grade the land and address drainage. The problem was that a previous owner had left wires from the abandoned vineyard trellis laying on the ground. Over the years, they had become buried under inches of soil. Every few feet the bulldozer would get tangled up with sections of wire. Everyone I asked just shrugged and said pretty much the same thing: "You are in a pickle…good luck." We had to pull a lot of it up by hand, and pieces of thick wire poking out of the soil seemed never ending.

This was just the first challenge I would face in “reclaiming” the Forge vineyards. Fast forward to October 2019 and I am happy to say the work has paid off. We are releasing our inaugural vintage of wine from our “home” farm, aptly named Bellows because of the intense winds that blow across the land. This site is special because of the drying, cleansing, and toughening effect of these winds. Our vision is to farm it in a unique way that is referred to as "biointensive" or "regenerative" agriculture. Using organic soil inputs and foliar treatments, the goal is to grow vines that are resistant to disease because they are so healthy that the bad guys (downy mildew being the biggest threat) cannot gain a foothold. We are only in the beginning stages of this journey, but the results have been really encouraging and the grapes are packed with complex flavors. In 2018 and 2019, we were able to stay about 90% organic, a remarkable achievement given the challenges 2018 posed for grape growing.

I am really happy to share these inaugural wines from Bellows with you.

- RR

Tales from the Shale - Vineyard Journal Apr. 23, 2018


Have you met Autumn Stoscheck?  She's the powerhouse behind Eve's Cidery, farmer extraordinaire, orchardist turned vigneron, and generally just a badass lady.  Autumn is on sabbatical with the cidery and working with us to develop our biointensive home farm.  Her methodologies and holistic approach to the land echo the philosophies of Forge and Saint Cosme, while also bringing a unique perspective to the mix.

Throughout the season we will share some highlights from the vineyard, and bring you along to explore the terroir of our site.

April 23, 2018 -- MAKING BIOCHAR
Written by Autumn Stoscheck (Instagram: @myvineyardyear)

#1 Vine prunings from 3 acres of 3 year old vines, the pit, and my fire starter. I dug this pit in 2 hours with a front loader on a little Kubota and hand held hoe. It's cone shaped, 3' deep in the center with a 6' radius up top.

#2 Started a very hot fire with scrap wood from old pallets.

#3 When it was raging, I began adding the prunings. The trick is to continue to add as much fire as possible with out smothering it.

#4 Fire burns twice, first making charcoal, then ash. The cone prevents air from reaching the bottom of the fire, leaving behind the charcoal. The fire is so hot it makes no smoke, only steam. The pit was full when I threw the last of the vines on the fire.

#5 Luckily our sprayer only uses organic certified materials, so I had a convenient method to pump the 100 gallons of water that the fire required to quench.

#6 Apx 200 gallons of high quality, uniform biochar ready to inoculate and add to our compost pile to be returned to the vineyard.