Barra of Mendocino
All Barra of Mendocino wines are made from 100% estate grown, hand-picked certified organic grapes.
Contact Details7051 North State StRedwood Valley, California, United States 95470-9527
We believe that the combination of our organic viticulture practices, coupled with our unique geographic location in the Mendocino appellation, helps us deliver premium wines that are truly representative of their "roots".
Charlie Barra has been making fine wine for a long time. As you take a walk through the vineyard with Charlie Barra, you'll find yourself surrounded by 50 year old, craggly, grapevines that resemble the sun-baked hands of the farmer that has nurtured them. These hearty, twisted vines, located on the bench lands at the headwaters of the Russian River in Redwood Valley, CA, are the source of the superior organic fruit that goes into each bottle of BARRA of Mendocino wines.
Following in the footsteps of his father, Antonio Barra, and his maternal grandfather, Guiseppe Rovera (who immigrated to Mendocino County from Piedmont, Italy in 1906), Charlie began farming grapes in the mid 40's. By 1954 he had purchased Redwood Valley Vineyards, the ranch that is home to over 175 acres of organically grown Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Muscat Canelli.
In 1955, when Charlie began planting new vines, he was fortunate to be able to rely on the practical experience of his father and grandfather to help him make the right choice in selecting rootstock and varietal clones. These choices, over the years, have proven that he made the right ones. Choosing to farm organically is just now beginning to pay off with consumer demand growing rapidly for wines grown without the use of chemicals, pesticides or other harmful materials.
With over 6 decades of experience in the back pocket of his Wrangler jeans, Charlie Barra, now 80 years old, farms his organic vineyards with the goal of producing rich, distinguishable fruits that "shine through" in every glass of BARRA of Mendocino wine.
"Why wouldn't I farm organically", states Charlie Barra. "Yes, it's more work (annual audits/certifications, paperwork, labor requirements), more risk (crop devastation from pests) and not necessarily a bigger payout, but it's essential to the well-being of this planet", says Barra. "We need to leave this earth the way we found it, and this doesn't include chemicals".
The Barra vineyards have been certified organic for 17 years now. But Charlie's favorite saying is "I've really been farming organically for 60 years...I just didn't know it the first 40!" Prior to World War II, growing without commercial chemicals and fertilizers was standard procedure.
Organic certification requires that our grapes are grown without conventional pesticides or herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation. Bell beans, red clover, peas and vetch are planted between the rows of vines, and then, just when the flowering plants are turning to either seed or starting to bear "fruit", the plants are turned back into the soil where they are converted to nutrients for the vines. The soils are alive with micro-organisms that allow the vines to take up the nutrients in a more efficient manner.
We believe the run-off from our land that goes into the Russian River is much cleaner than if pesticides and artificial fertilizers were used, and the water we collect from the watershed behind the ranch and store throughout the year is protected from chemicals leaching through the soils. And we've even seen the wildlife increase on our ranch (note the large-eared rabbit in the picture at the left of this page) at a measurable rate!
Our unique location at the bench lands of the headwaters of the Russian River in Northern California provides us with hot summer days (averaging 90 degrees in the summer) and cool nights (sometimes dipping 30 degrees lower), resulting in what we call a long "hang time". This long hang time allows our fruits to reach full maturity in a consistent, un-rushed fashion, resulting in wines that produce a stellar "mouth-feel". Mendocino County wines, known for their fruit-forward nature, are still some of the best undiscovered wines available on the market today.
To find out more, please visit our website.