Phil Coturri has made a 40-year career growing grapes in places and in ways no one thought were possible. In 1978, he pioneered organic viticulture at a time when Round-Up, methyl bromide, and other chemicals were considered necessary tools of the trade. In 1983, he planted a vineyard on the side of a rocky hillside above Sonoma Valley, a site most considered unsuitable for any type of agriculture, let alone organic wine grapes. Today he still farms that first organic vineyard, and that rocky vineyard above Sonoma is the world-renowned Kamen Estate Vineyard, a vanguard property in the newly minted Moon Mountain District Appellation. Phil has now joined Niv Benyehuda to forge yet another world-class wine region in Copey, high in the Talamanca mountain range of Costa Rica.
Phil is the viticulturist for both western Hemisphere outposts for 3 Corners, having farmed the Kamen Estate Vineyard for more than 30 years and joined the team in Copey in 2011. The Kamen Estate produces classic Moon Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon. The high elevation and extremely rocky volcanic soil combine to create wines of incredible texture, density, and depth, while warm summer nights and mornings above the fog, allow for ripeness and full fruit flavors unmatched by many other vineyards in the area.
While the terroir of Copey is still being defined, the signs of a great vineyard site are there. Though Copey and the Moon Mountain District are a world apart, they share some similar characteristics; rocky, red volcanic soil, often considered the finest grape growing soils around, and elevation that allows for constant air flow, dry weather, and temperature variations. The vineyards of Copey and the Moon Mountain District also share one other key feature – the attitude of the farmers, a true passion to grow the best wines possible and the dedication and attention to detail needed to pursue that passion, one of the most important, and often overlooked, factors in terroir.