Wine Country Escapes: Back to the Land

An Iranian Immigrant Launches a Biodynamic Vineyard in Oregon

"We complain about what we’ve done to our environment. But just criticizing doesn’t help.”

By Fiona McCann September 13, 2017 Published in the October 2017 issue of Portland Monthly

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Moe Momtazi at Maysara

In 1982, Moe Momtazi and his wife, then pregnant with the first of their three daughters, fled to the US to escape the Ayatollah Khomeini’s oppressive, post-revolution Iran. Fifteen years later, the successful engineer launched another adventure: a biodynamic vineyard and winery, Maysara, in the rolling hills just south of McMinnville.

“We have an expression in our language that says water separates people but wine brings them together.”

“My grandfather did farming holistically; he grew tea, rice, mulberry trees. The idea is that what you take from nature you put back in a natural form. You don’t use any fertilizer, chemical or mineral.”

“I‘m hoping to change the way people farm. Big companies tell us that using chemicals is the only way. We complain about what we’ve done to our environment. But just criticizing doesn’t help.”

“Biodynamic farming is misunderstood. We make tea out of medicinal herbs and flowers and spray it on the foliage or inject it in the irrigation line. It’s harder work, especially getting rid of weeds. But the quality of the crop is by far superior.” 

“The day after buying the property, I applied to build two reservoirs. Because of the trout and bass that we stock, osprey and falcons have nested; they deter migratory birds that could devastate your crop in days. Taking care of nature—you get rewarded back.”

Try: Maysara’s 2015 Immigrant Pinot Noir

Dedicated to immigrants who risk all to “make it to America for the values and opportunity this country stands for.” A third of profits go to programs that help immigrants and refugees.

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