“Green,” “Sustainable,” and “Organic” are words that we hear often without much explanation as to how they relate to a business or product. Here, we explain the differences in the sustainability certifications our wines carry.
Created with the help of environmental experts and Stellar Certification Services, our third-party certified-sustainable vineyard program is one of the most comprehensive in the country. The program, which emphasizes environmentally sound growing methods, such as biodiversity, soil revitalization and Integrated Pest Management (IPM), shows growers how to cultivate grapes with more character, flavors and aromas with the goal of making better, genuinely distinctive wines.
Every year, our growers are required to participate in sustainable farming and are given monetary incentives to improve their point total. Our program is predicated on the notion that there is always room to improve, incorporate new learning and stretch for even higher quality fruit.
Our Certified Sustainable program is the strongest, most thorough, quality control program we know about.
Organic grape growing avoids the use of synthetic chemicals and uses natural methods like crop rotation, tillage and natural composts to maintain soil health as well as natural methods to control weeds, insects and other pests. Many of our growers move from certified sustainable to certified organic as they see the affects in their vineyard site and the caliber of grapes they grow. Increasingly, growers are moving on from certified organic to transition to certified Biodynamic. Our winemaking facility is certified organic by Stellar Certification Services and our organic growers either carry a Stellar certification or one from CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers).
All four of our estate vineyards are Demeter-certified Biodynamic. Biodynamics is the highest level of organic farming. Developed in the 1920’s, Biodynamics views the vineyard as a single organism. With this approach, eliminating synthetic chemicals is just the beginning. Biodynamics goes further, encouraging biodiversity, a closed nutrient system, the use of homeopathic teas and a close personal connection to the land. We began transitioning our home ranch on Sonoma Mountain in the mid-nineties. Since then, we have used our experiences and insight to mentor our own network of growers and anyone else interested in farming this way.
Instead of bagged fertilizer, weed killer and pesticides we rely on composting, natural predator-prey relationships, cover crops, and the animals that live on our estate, to keep our vineyard healthy and balanced. There is no silver bullet in Biodynamic winegrowing. When you eliminate all the artificial crutches, you learn to trust your instincts and to trust nature’s ability and capacity to make a great wine.
Today, we are one of a handful of Demeter-certified Biodynamic vineyards in North America. Our property is located in a pretty distinct area – an extinct volcano caldera resembling a 360-degree bowl that sits in a valley 800 feet above sea level. Formed from volcanic explosions that occurred million of years ago, our land is ideal for winegrowing and boasts a variety of different sun exposures, elevations, soil profiles and drainage. Through Biodynamic farming, the best of what the land possesses is reflected in the characteristics of every bottle.