If you ask him, Phil Coturri might quote a Levon Helm song and describe himself as a “poor old dirt farmer”. However, after 35 years pioneering organic and biodynamic winegrowing in California descriptions range from “famed organic viticulturalist” by the Hollywood Reporter to “the ubiquitous wizard of sustainable winemaking” by Sonoma Magazine. He was born with the cultural palate of Italian immigrants, weaned on the music and ethos of San Francisco in the 1960’s and planted deep into the rocky hillsides of Sonoma Valley.
The pursuit of premium wine begins with a vibrant, healthy vineyard ecosystem that allows vines to flourish and grapes to show the individuality of the terroir. In the 35 years since growing his first organic vineyard, Phil has proven that not only are sustainable farming practices better for the farmers and the environment, they produce better wine. The grapes used for Winery Sixteen 600 are all certified organic or biodynamic. No chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides are ever applied. Dense covercrops and insectuaries promote biodiversity and enrich the rocky soils with vital nutrients. Yields are kept low, vines are hand worked and watered minimally. The result is ripe, vibrant flavors, rich, full-bodied wines that allow the varietals and region to shine.
Famed rock artist Stanley Mouse, “The man who drew the face on rock music” (Selvin), provided the visual backdrop for Phil’s childhood in San Francisco. Stanley’s art has spanned decades from Monsters and Hotrods growing up in Detroit to some of the most iconic posters and album covers of the 60’s and 70’s. He began exploring fine art in the 1980’s and furthered that pursuit when he moved to Sonoma Valley and became friends with Phil. Together they pursued their mutual love of music, wine and a good view. Many of Stanley’s paintings from this time hang on the walls of Phil’s home. Stanley says that the painting he chose for the label is one of his favorites. He calls it “Left Bank” and one can only assume that whatever is on the woman’s mind will be worked out after a few glasses of Syrah.