Leigh Bartholomew/Results Partners
Taking over farming for Winderlea in 2014 is veteran vineyard manager Leigh Bartholomew. Leigh spent the last dozen years leading vineyard management for Archery Summit before joining Results Partners. She is now managing Winderlea’s 20 acre estate vineyard in the Dundee Hills, as well as the Meredith Mitchell Vineyard in McMinnville, Winderlea’s newest estate property.
Leigh’s background and experience is vast. After gleaning hands-on vineyard experience in both Washington State and Chile, Leigh studied viticulture at the University of California at Davis. Master’s degree in hand, she then traveled the world, working harvests from California to Burgundy and south to New Zealand. Returning to the West Coast in 2000, Leigh became the vineyard manager for Archery Summit. In 2002, she and her husband, Patrick Reuter, planted their vineyard in Mosier and began producing their own wines for their brand Dominio IV.
Leigh is a graduate of the University of California Davis with a master of science degree in horticulture. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon in International Studies with a focus on South America. Her experience includes conducting viritcultural research at Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville, CA, as a custom-crush manager at Vina Errazuriz & Caliterra in Chile and as a viticulturalist at Cain Vineyard in St. Helena, CA.
Philippe Armenier is considered to be one of the foremost practitioners or Biodynamic farming in the world. Based upon the writings of Rudolph Steiner, who is best known in this country as the philosphical founder of the Waldorf Schools, Biodynamic agriculture is a whole farm approach that combines intense natural practices commonly found in organic farming along with the addition of unique preparations intended to stimulate plant and biological life as well as to bring the farm in to balance with the natural rthyms of the earth, the sun, the moon, and the other planets. “Biodynamic agriculture is a way of living, working and relating to nature and the vocations of agriculture based on good common-sense practices, a consciousness of the uniqueness of each landscape, and the inner development of each and every practitioner.” (quoted from the website of the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association – www.biodynamics.com/biodynamics).
Philippe’s education in winegrowing came at the feet of his father, Elie Armenier at his family’s vineyard and winery in Chateauneuf du Pape, Domaine deMarcoux. Philippe began sharing vineyard management and winemaking responsibilities with his father in 1973 and took over in 1980 upon his father’s passing. Dissatisfied with the results of decades of chemical farming which had robbed the soil of its life, Philippe looked for alternatives. His wife, pianist Brigitte Armenier, gave him a copy of Steiner’s Agriculture Course, a series of lectures given by Steiner to a group of farmers at Schloss Koberwitz in Germany. Like Philippe, they had discovered their soils and crops to be failing after years of chemical farming. Philippe decided to convert his vineyards to Biodynamic practices beginning in the late 1980’s. The results were obvious in the vineyard, where the soils sprung to life, as well as in the winery. The estate and the wines it produced rose dramatically in stature over the coming decade and now Domaine de Marcoux is consistently considered one of the best wine producers in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Eager to spend more time studying and teaching others about Biodynamic farming, Philippe, Brigitte, and their children left France for the United States in 2001. He has built a thriving consulting practice and now advises dozens of growers like us in this unique approach to farming. His clients represent a whose who of the top growers and wineries in the country. Philippe started working with Winderlea in April 2009.