As you take a walk through the vineyard with Charlie Barra, you’ll find yourself surrounded by 60 year old, craggy, 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, California, 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 1940’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 90 years old), alongside his wife Martha, farms his organic vineyards with the goal of producing rich, distinguishable fruits that “shine through” in every glass of BARRA of Mendocino wine.