The Phillips family has been farming since their Great Great Grandfather Andrew Harshner and his wife Lucille homesteaded 160 acres near the town ofLodi, following the Civil War in the 1860′s. The region’s natural affinity for grape growing quickly became evident, and by the turn of the century (the last one), twenty-five percent of California’s grape acreage was in Lodi. A generation later saw the demise of many pioneering wineries in the state.
Originally devoted to vegetables, the Phillips’ farms evolved to include many different fruits, including fifteen different wine varietals that were shipped throughout the country during Prohibition with instructions on “how not to have the grapes turn into wine”. Thereby, Prohibition was good for Lodi growers, with families everywhere keeping up the tradition of wine with meals by ordering these grapes and “juice” to be bottled at home.
These days, Michael and David Phillips represent the fifth generation of growers in Lodi, and things are changing. With 650 acres of premium wine grapes, there is plenty of room for experimentation and innovation. The vineyards are irrigated by the Mokelumne River, which carries crystal-clear water from the Sierra Nevada Mountains, depositing minerals into the rich soils upon which the grapes thrive. Though not certified organic, Michael-David Winery strives to use all natural methods including integrated pest management, beneficial insects for pest control, trellising, leaf pulling and natural mined sulfur for mildew control.
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