All About Napa/Sonoma Wine Country

Los Angeles Confidential Magazine,  By Abby Tegnelia, September 2014 An eco-friendly Napa/Sonoma wine country visit in fall is truly a trip to bountiful. Like an excruciating soccer match between two teams trying to ride out the clock, Napa and Sonoma were put through the ringer this year, muscling through the toughest drought in a century, summer wildfires, and even some early bud break. But now they’ve made it to the buzzer—it’s harvest time! After the bullying they’ve triumphed over, the release parties that are coming early this year should be extra celebratory. Between all of the excitement and the crisp Indian summer-like weather, fall is a magical time to visit wine country and take part in the harvest traditions, paying homage to Mother Nature for another great year. In fact, she is reigning supreme in Napa and Sonoma, which are ushering in an era of eco-conscious winemaking. “Linking what we’re doing for the environment to what’s in the bottle is very important to me,” says the pioneering Mike Benziger, general manager and winegrower for Sonoma’s Benziger Family Winery, whose harvest will be in “full swing” by September 1. “Our job is to reconnect people to the land, which is very powerful. We get the customer out in the vineyard, teach them some farming techniques, and then get them back to the tasting room to show the [resultant] high-quality wine. It makes an impact on people.” In 2000, Benziger became the very first winery in Napa or Sonoma to be granted a Biodynamic Certification—which means it takes an organic, holistic approach to winemaking that encompasses everything from the animals on the property to the moon’s phases—but now the country’s most famous wine region has an impressive array of LEED-certified wineries, Biodynamic vineyards, and “green” hotels. Full article here.