I’ll Drink to That: Winegrower Mimi Casteel

Episode 469 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features owner and winegrower Mimi Casteel of the Hope Well Vineyard in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

Mimi Casteel argues that we have lost a connection with our planet’s soil, not just because we often miss out on a meaningful experience of nature in our lives, but also because the very soil itself has changed for the worse. She suggests that we have lost, through poor farming, the mineral-rich topsoil that we need to give nutrients to our crops. Without that topsoil to give it life, our food has less of the nourishing aspects that we assume it has, and our wines are less compelling. Why does she think this, and what steps can be taken to remedy the situation? Mimi addresses those questions at length in this interview, but a theme stretching across all of her statements is that she believes that allowing for complexity in agriculture brings a better result to both the habitat of the place and to the produce of the farm. The agricultural approaches that limit variables in farming, with the aim of limiting risk, are what Mimi is arguing against. Approaches that want to control – rather than encourage – agriculture and habitat lead to a cascading series of side effects that end up having lethal consequences for humans, says Mimi. And she sees a through line between viticulture as agriculture, and agriculture as an engagement with the natural world. How do you see that line? After listening to Mimi Casteel, you perspective might well change.

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I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine