We are Aaron and Cara Mockrish. We live, farm, and grow wines in Oregon House, California, nestled in the North Yuba AVA of the Sierra Foothills.
Our farming is influenced by our own observations and hard lessons throughout each season. We currently live and make our wines adjacent to the vineyards and are able to walk to work, where we are helped by our dogs, sheep, chickens, and cats.
Growing the wines begins in early winter, when we start pruning our vineyards. We interact with every vine personally, making decisions that shape the future of the vineyard as well as the final wine in bottle for that vintage. We consider the events of the past season, try to predict the coming months weather, and attempt to give each vine exactly the amount of work that it wants to do for the year. It usually takes the two of us until Valentine's Day to finish this process on all the slopes we manage, comprising about 10 thousand vines spread over roughly 18 acres. These are low-yield, own-rooted, dry-farmed vineyards planted in the early 1970's on steeply sloped mountain terraces of decomposing granite, quartz, and volcanic rock.
February and March are devoted to tying the vines and training them to trellising. In these weeks before bud-break, our flock of sheep are cleaning up and fertilizing the slopes.
April and May we work on the tractor spraying elemental sulphur for mildew prevention, mowing, and under-vine management.
In June and July we thin shoots, drop fruit, and start stressing out about the upcoming harvest. We harvest during August and September, sometimes into October.
All sorting and quality control is done at the vine. We only pick perfectly ripe clusters in successive passes.
All of our wines are:
whole cluster, foot-stomped
spontaneously fermented with
no additions, subtractions or corrections
we use only old french oak and other neutral vessels
we use no sulphur during the life of the wines until bottling day
when we add 15-25ppm total SO2 in the form of KMBS
The only chemical we use in the vineyard is an organic, OMRI-listed, elemental form of sulphur during the middle of the growing season. We stop spraying at the first signs of veraison. We are familiar with and influenced by organic and biodynamic ideas, but we choose not to pursue any form of certification. Joel Salatin once said: "You can't legislate integrity." And we agree.
We don't poison, kill, or fight our way through the season.
Throughout the fall and early winter we let the vineyards rest and spend our time tending the cellar, reading, reflecting, and planning for the future.