Driving Force

I am trying to master this soil and the crops and animals that spring from it, as I strove to master the sea…” -Jack London

img_1382There’s a spot in Glen Ellen California in Sonoma County, in front of the Jack London Saloon the Hotel Chauvet and the London Ranch Road, that feels like an epicenter of quiet perfection in a small town surrounded by natural beauty. This is the saloon where Jack London drank, the road he took to his idyllic ranch. And it’s here up the road on the ranch where there are groves of eucalyptus trees and stands of redwoods, winding paths and magnificent vistas, Jack London’s beloved home over 100 years ago and now a state park; it’s here that one can experience the powerful draw of nature.

Though known for his writing, Jack London also introduced the ideas of organic and sustainable farming to California. His mission was to improve the land, “I am rebuilding worn-out hillside lands that were worked out and destroyed by our wasteful California pioneer farmers. I believe the soil is our one indestructible asset, and by green manures, nitrogen-gathering cover crops, animal manure, rotation of crops, proper tillage and draining, I am getting results which the Chinese have demonstrated for forty centuries.”img_1447

Along the Wolf House trail are vistas of vineyards. And just beyond the Beauty Ranch Trail is the Jack London vineyard, now maintained by Kenwood Vineyards. Planted here are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and Syrah. As is fitting to the name, the Jack London Vineyard is farmed sustainably.

img_1460Along with the ripe fruit aromas the volcanic soil of the vineyard lends a vibrancy, a kinetic energy, to the wines that in its own way pays tribute to the driving force that once worked this land.

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