Ted Lemon, who owns and operates Littorai with his wife, Heidi, is a lifelong winemaker with an Enology degree from the Université de Dijon. He has worked at many prestigious estates in Burgundy (including Domaine Georges Roumier, Domaine Bruno Clair, Domaine Parent, Domaine De Villaine, Domaine Delorme, and Domaine Dujac) and was the first American ever selected as winemaker/vineyard manager of a Burgundian estate (Domaine Guy Roulot in Meursault). Since 1993, Littorai has grown from producing 300 cases annually to 3,000 cases amongst 8 different vineyard designations and remains one of California's most highly-respected winemakers.
"Ted Lemon set out to write the Great American novel. Luckily... he focused instead on composing poetry in a bottle – and ended up making great American wines" - Decanter, Aug 2011.
|Anderson Valley, Sonoma Coast
|Ted and Heidi Lemon
(SUSTAINABLE, ORGANIC, BIODYNAMIC)
In the late 1990s, after more than fifteen years practicing conventional farming, Ted Lemon became convinced that western agronomic theory is inadequate in its conception of plant growth and nutrition and that farming based upon this theory is fundamentally unsustainable. Since that time all of the vineyards which Littorai Wines owns or leases are farmed using alternative methods.
In addition to using only natural materials, wall fertilizers are avoided. Estate produced compost is the“fertilizer” of choice. For sites which we do not farm ourselves, we use By-the-acre contracts are used for the leased sites to insure maximum quality and vineyard control - farmer-partners are strongly encouraged to use only organic materials.
The estate property, The Pivot, is located at the winery site. Purchased in 2003, the vineyard is only three acres but is located on thirty acres of rolling hills on a ridge top between Sebastopol and Freestone, seven miles from the coast. Farmed biodynamically as a self sustaining, integrated and diversified farm. Eight acres of the property are woods and streams, never to be developed. Fourteen acres are open pasture dedicated to providing a home for the cows and hay which form the basis of our compost. One quarter of these pasture lands are re-sown with legumes, grains and grasses every year. Only natural teas and compost are applied to maintain their vigor.
The winery, completed in 2008, is an innovative strawbale building with “green” architecture and environmentally & low impact-sensitive design. This system provides both tremendous insulation and thermal inertia. The winery uses natural night air cooling to maintain appropriate temperatures for the cellars and working areas. The winery is designed for wine movement via gravity flow to avoid the use of pumps. All of the water used in wine production is recycled through eco-sensitive constructed wetlands in which plants naturally treat and recycle the water for reuse as irrigation water on the property.
Littorai is also committed to a minimalist approach to winemaking, intervening as little as possible and using as few chemicals as possible. Additionally, they very rarely acidify their wines, preferring to pick the wines at a brix level which allows for the natural acidity to be sufficient, and avoid the use of micro-oxygenation, reverse osmosis, and other high-tech winemaking processes that often strip wine of its character.