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Badger Mountain Organic Winery

Badger Mountain

Badger Mountain Vineyard & Winery is the sister winery to Powers Winery and makes organic and "No Sulfite Added" wines from Estate grown fruit.

Badger Mountain/Powers Winery is owned by Tim and Carolyn DeCook. First bottling ocurred in 1992. Badger Mountain wines are all grown at the Estate Vineyard from organic fruit. Bottling into the Powers Winery label allows the winery to produce high quality wines made from varietals not growing in their organic vineyard. Each year Bill Powers works closely with regional growers to ensure the highest quality fruit with the best potential.

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More About Badger Mountain Organic Winery

History

Father and son, Bill and Greg Powers, established Badger Mountain Vineyard in 1982. In 1983 they were joined by a partner, Tim DeCook and started producing premier wines at their 80-acre estate winery. The estate is situated on a south-facing slope of Badger Mountain, in the Columbia Valley, Washington State's finest viticultural area. The climate is well suited for world-class vinifera grapes, with weeks of 85-95 degree Fahrenheit daytime temperatures during the summer, and winters cold enough to eliminate vineyard pests. The average annual rainfall of less than eight inches, combined with deep, well-drained volcanic soil, allows for precisely controlled application of water through irrigation.

Organic Focus

Badger Mountain Vineyard

The transition to organic viticulture began in 1988. Since that time the winery has not used chemical herbicides, insecticides, fungicides or synthetic fertilizers in our vineyard. They have relied on only organically approved and naturally occurring substances for all vineyard applications. In 1990, Badger Mountain Vineyard became the first vineyard to be Certified Organic by the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

Badger Mountain balances tradition and technology to produce a wide array of classic varietal wines, as well as limited bottlings of wines with no added sulfites (preservatives). The winery continues to be committed to producing premium wine, which has become nationally and internationally recognized for its consistent high quality.

Bill Powers - General Manager

As a young man, Bill came to Washington State from Oklahoma. After approximately 20 years as an orchardist, Bill took a brief excursion into the cattle business from 1978-1981. In 1981, Bill found the perfect piece of ground and planted Badger Mountain Vineyard in 1982. As the vineyard matured, the grapes were sold to Chateau St. Michelle from 1985 to 1987, with some of the 1987 harvest made into wine and sold in bulk. In 1988, wine was produced and bottled under the Badger Mountain label. Also during 1988, Bill's farming philosophy changed as he decided to pursue organic viticulture. With the transition to organic techniques underway, the winery was built in 1989. In 1990, Badger Mountain Vineyard became the first Certified Organic Vineyard in Washington State and Bill made international sales contacts. Sales of organic wine were made to a Japanese company and the relationship between Bill and the Japanese buyer has remained prosperous for both over the years.

Bill is always interested in improving the quality of the vineyard and 1996 saw the move towards re-trellising using the Scott-Henry system. The work was finally completed in 1998. Bill was named 1996 Washington Wine Grape Grower of the Year, an award which was bestowed by his colleagues for his progressive techniques and excellent recovery of the vineyard after the devastating freeze in the winter of 1996. Bill continues to take an active role overseeing all aspects of the vineyard and the winery, and in his spare moments enjoys the company of his wife and grandchildren.

USE OF SULFITES -
Frequently Asked Questions

What are sulfites and why are they used?
Sulfur dioxide(SO2) is a naturally occurring type of sulfite. Mined sulfur is heated into a liquid and used to protect wine from oxidizing. The same method has been used to protect wine from oxidization for centuries. Sulfur dioxide is used to protect the wine's character by inhibiting the growth of molds and bacteria and by stopping oxidation (browning) of the wine. In grape juice or wine, sulfur dioxide reacts with water molecules to form sulfites. A sulfiting agent can be added to foods and beverages in the form of sulfur dioxide (a gas) or as potassium bisulfite or metabisulfite (powders). In solution, all forms act the same way, releasing sulfur dioxide.

Is the addition of sulfites to wine a new procedure?
No. There is strong evidence that sulfur dioxide was used by Egyptians and has been in regular use since Roman times. European winemakers have used sulfur dioxide to prevent wine spoilage for centuries.

Are there also naturally occurring sulfites in wines?
Yes. Wine yeasts naturally produce up to 20 parts per million of SO2 during fermentation. There are also naturally occurring sulfites in other foods. In addition, our own bodies produce about 1,000 mg of sulfites a day through normal biochemical processes.

When did the Contains Sulfites label become mandatory on wines?
In 1988, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms ruling required all imported and domestic wines, beers and spirits to carry the label if they meet or exceed a threshold 10 parts per million sulfites. Because of naturally occurring sulfites, many wines fall under this ruling, regardless of whether sulfites have been added.

Why the Concern?
The concern over sulfites in the United States arose with the use of extremely high levels of SO2 (1,000 to 3,000 ppm) on salad bars to prevent browning of fruits and head lettuce. This use of sulfites resulted in asthmatic reactions--some serious. In 1986 the FDA banned the use of sulfites on fresh fruits and vegetables while other foods and beverages must now be labeled if they contain sulfites--even those which contain very low levels.

What percentage of the population do sulfites affect?
The reaction is a chemical sensitivity found in an extremely small percentage of the population. The majority of sulfite-sensitive people are asthmatic, but represent less than 3% of the asthmatics. We have sold to sulfite-sensitive people, always asking for their comments, and have received nothing but positive feedback.

What is the sulfite level in Badger Mountain wines?
Grape fermentations naturally generate about 8-10 parts per million sulfites, so no other additions are made for four to five months. At the time of bottling, sulfur dioxide levels are adjusted to 20-30 parts per million. In addition we produce a line of wines with only naturally occurring sulfites--no sulfites are added. Wines actually need one of the lowest levels of sulfites to ensure stability. Because of wine's alcohol content, naturally high acidity, and low pH, only low levels of SO2 need to be added to achieve stability.

How does this level compare with other foods?
Dried fruit, such as apples and apricots are typically packaged with 500 to 1,000 ppm SO2.

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