Certified organic since the 1980s, Heller Estate was a pioneer of organic grape growing in the Carmel Valley Appellation. After the Heller’s passing, the property was purchased by Bill and Laurie Massa in January of 2018, including the entire Cachagua estate, the vineyards, the winery, the tasting room and what remained of the wine inventory. Since then, the Massa’s have been hard at work restoring the property and continuing the organic grape growing practices that the Hellers began back in 1996. Now under Massa Estate, the organic practices of cover cropping, composting, and water conservation continue to drive the superior grape quality and signature wines.
Massa Estate is dedicated to growing each and every varietal with respect for the soil, water and air and is proud of the minimal impact on the surrounding environment.
Rather than employing chemical sprays, Massa Estate releases predatory wasps in the vineyards to keep the undesirable insect population low. These tiny wasps (not the human-biting species) attack the eggs of the leaf-hoppers, which are destructive to grapes. To provide a home in the vineyards for these natural predators, French plum trees have been planted around the property in which the wasps flourish. Beneficial insects such as ladybugs are also released to prey upon other destructive vine-damaging mites, creating an eco-balance in the vineyards.
PEST MANAGEMENT CONTROL – No pesticides or unapproved organic chemicals are used for insect control. Lady bugs are released to assist in keeping the vine viable. Barn owl boxes are placed in the vineyard to attract raptors to help control gophers.
SOIL MANAGEMENT – No herbicides are employed, and the desired results are accomplished by using the organic matter left following the crushing and pressing of grapes. This compost is then spread in the middle of the vineyard rows creating healthy, organic vineyard soil.
WEED MANAGEMENT – Weeds are controlled by planting cover crops, which also provide an effective habitat for other beneficial insects, such as vineyard spiders.
The mission of Massa Estate is to produce wines from organically grown grapes without the use of pesticides and herbicides while maintaining a healthy ecology and environment.