Take a drive out to the picturesque McMinnville Foothills in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and explore a winery built on the American dream and Biodynamic soil. Turn into Momtazi Estate, and the road ultimately leads to the impressive Maysara Winery. I had the pleasure of visiting this family owned and operated winery this summer as a guest while attending the 2019 Wine Writers Educational Tours. Our revelatory introduction to the 532 acre estate was led by owner Moe Momtazi.
Maysara Winery’s Momtazi Vinyeard
After touring Momtazi Vineyard with Moe, I will never gaze at a grapevine the same way. There is something very spiritual about how he perceives and cares for the vines.
“Grapevines are like prisoners of the earth but they look to the heavens,”
he proclaims. The vineyard is Demeter Certified Biodynamic® which, simply put, means they farm the land strictly employing approved methods intended to be low impact on the environment. Meeting the standards to attain this certification is labor intensive and takes time. However, Moe trusts that this holistic method of farming will maintain healthy vines and result in superior quality grapes. It must be working. After all, grapes from Momtazi Vineyard are highly sought after by other winemakers. In fact, the family sells about 50% of the wine grapes that they harvest.
As our group walked along the property, the scent of tea in the air greeted us. Eventually we reached the source of the aromatics – a large fountain-like apparatus. The towering device is used to make tea from stinging nettles. Rather than using synthetic chemicals, the tea is applied to the plants in order to maintain their health and vitality.
Moreover, all issues with the vineyard are addressed naturally. For example, nitrogen was needed in the soil. So, a cover crop was planted. That crop got turned back into the soil, nourishing it with what it needed. Our group eagerly sniffed the vineyard soil, as though its magical properties would give us our own super powers.
If you’ve ever thought, “I can’t,” then take a lesson from this inspiring family. Moe Momtazi and his wife, Flora, escaped Iran in 1982 during the revolution. At the time, Flora was 8 months pregnant with daughter, Tahmiene. Fast forward to 1997, and Moe and Flora purchased an abandoned wheat farm near their McMinville home. They subsequently began planting Pinot Noir although they had no prior experience. Next came the winery, an imposing structure constructed from repurposed materials.
Today, Tahmiene is the winemaker at her family’s Biodynamic winery, and a new mother.
Maysara Winery Immigrant Pinot Noir
During my visit, I received a sample bottle of the Immigrant Pinot Noir. As with all of the Maysara wines, it is crafted with estate fruit. The Immigrant Pinot Noir is rich, savory, and complex. This is the kind of red wine I love to pair with an earthy Lentil Salad.
The wine retails for $45, and 33% of proceeds go toward Refugee & Immigrant programs servicing permanent residency, family based visas, low-cost immigration counseling and much more. So, if you’re looking for wines that not only taste good but do good, add the Immigrant Pinot Noir to your shopping list!
Have you experienced Maysara Winery yet? Head on over to Instagram, leave a comment, and #letstakaboutwine! If not, plan a visit to this winery that is not only crafting delectable wines, but leaving the earth a better place.