Amber True
 
November 1, 2017 | De Tierra Blog | Amber True

The Story of De Tierra

De Tierra began in 1998 as an organic grape-growing operation in the Salinas Valley by Tom Russell, an agriculture professional from Phoenix, Arizona. Russell had transitioned the majority of his conventional row crop vegetable operation to organic in the early 1990’s, and had great success in the California market. Russell was passionate about wine and farming, and wanted to explore the benefits of organic farming with wine grapes. Russell teamed up with friend and winemaker of Vignalta Italy, Lucio Gomiero, and planned to develop an organic vineyard in the Corral de Tierra Valley. The site was selected, a south-west facing, 40-acre farm, just 15 miles from the Salinas Valley. Through this partnership, De Tierra Vineyards was born. Today, De Tierra is run by Tom Russell’s daughter, Anna Russell. Anna is a second-generation farmer and Salinas native.
 
De Tierra has since expanded to plant a second estate vineyard, the Sargenti Vineyard. This vineyard is located just north of the Santa Lucia Highlands in the Salinas Valley. There are only two grapes grown on the Sargenti vineyard, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
 
Growing five estate varietals, and sourcing another five varietals from a handful of high quality vineyards around the Central Coast, De Tierra makes premium wine with the best fruit from Monterey county. De Tierra’s own Russell Estate Vineyard has four micro-climates which allows for unique representation of terroir, and multiple varietals to grow well on the small ranch. There is a separate aquifer at our Russell Estate that allows the vineyard to avoid some of the drought issues that often face the Salinas Valley in dry years. The vineyard is isolated from Salinas Valley agriculture, which prevents against invasive yeast and cross contamination from pesticides and herbicides used in conventional farming. What started as a dream of a homestead with vines in the ‘Pastures of Heaven’, grew into a hobby among friends, and blossomed into a thriving artisanal winery with distribution in five states, an event venue, and a tasting room in Carmel. De Tierra is committed to organics and sustainable farming, demonstrating the importance of this commitment by producing high quality, SIP-Certified wines in Monterey County.
 
What makes De Tierra so unique? It is a female run winery; Anna Russell is a 2nd generation Salinas Valley farmer, and sommelier, working to develop the De Tierra brand beyond Monterey County. The Russell Estate Vineyard is organically grown and is the 2nd certified CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) vineyard in Monterey County. Most of De Tierra’s wines are estate grown; less than 10% of California wineries produce estate grown wines. Our vineyard SIP certified, which stands for Sustainability in Practice, and is committed to sustainability. Grapes grown at the Russell Estate are lower yield and hand harvested. Our wines are vegan, meaning there are no animal products used in the winemaking process. Receiving “Winery of the Year” in 2010, De Tierra is striving to bring a premium product to its customers.

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