Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

SEP-OCT 2018

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As Scott will quickly tell you, Native Flora is not your typical Oregon winery. "We are likely the most rebel, renegade establishment in wine country, and possibly the most fun," he said. Taking a heterodox approach, in 2005 they planted their first vines on a steep north-facing slope on which no one else dared to plant. Upping the ante on alternative approaches, the vines are supported by a unique trellis system that allows a herd of Babydoll Southdown sheep to work as groundskeepers, mowing and fertilizing the grounds year-round. e lowest fruiting wire is set just above the reach of the tallest sheep, which has the added benefit of making the harvest a little less backbreaking. Sitting at 800' feet of elevation, the vineyards in the valley below Native Flora mimic squares of a patchwork quilt. This rarified air imparts Native Flora with its own microclimate, which allows Scott, a Yale grad and self-professed "wine geek," to relish in experimentation. "Sometimes we crash and burn; most of the time we succeed," he conveyed with bravado. Comprising 16,000-square-feet in total, the winery, tasting area, and the Flora's personal home are artfully and thoughtfully melded into the hilltop site. Sustainable innovations include geo-thermal heating and cooling, an extensive rainwater capture system that leaves groundwater untouched, and a waste treatment system suitable for a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Unless you have a tasting appointment, coming across a bottle of Native Flora is like catching a unicorn, and that is by design. Scott explained, "We greatly value experimentation, privacy, our place, the guests who come to visit, and our friendships with them when they depart. We produce world- class wines sought by serious collectors, as well as novel, fun, and technically sound wines meant to stretch the boundaries of wine tradition. Our goal is to be a limited producer, sought out for quality of product and experience." Reflective of the Asian accents found throughout their airy residence, Scott and Denise have a yin-and-yang relationship that serves their business interests well. With Scott as the booming mouthpiece of the brand, Denise, a retired COO, has a quieter confidence and eye for detail that keeps the business side running smoothly. Native Flora's current portfolio includes an ageable dry rosé, a "riesling for riesling haters", pinot noir, pinot blanc, a "PMS" blend (estate-grown pinot, malbec and syrah), and méthode champenoise sparkling wine. Most of their wines are available to order through Native Flora's website (nativeflora.com), or by joining their wine club. A benefit of an in-person tasting is gaining access to a handful of limited-production or library wines only available through the tasting room. While Scott and Denise make seriously good wines, they believe wine and fun go hand-in-hand, as evidenced by the wonderfully witty stories found on many of their bottle labels (we won't spoil the surprise here so you'll have to seek out a bottle to see for yourself ). "It's a kick running a small vineyard," said Scott. sl For more information on the Dundee Hills AVA, visit dundeehills.org. Scott and Denise Flora in the tasting room 64 slmag.net

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