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A relaxing spot for picnic or just refection at Goldeneye Vineyard on California's North Coast A relaxing spot for picnic or just refection at Goldeneye Vineyard on California's North Coast Photo: Robert Holmes

Taste News Service, June 9, 2020 – Much is heard about sustainability these days. It seems like everybody thinks it’s a good idea, but what does it really mean?

In conversations about sustainability the words organic and biodynamic are often heard. Sustainable, organic, biodynamic—three different approaches to farming, but they have some similarities and overlaps.

These agricultural methods can be confusing, but we’ve borrowed a simplified explanation from Wine Institute, the San Francisco-based trade organization that represents most of the California wine industry. Below you’ll find that explanation of each concept, as well as links for more detailed information.

Sustainable Winegrowing

Sustainable winegrowing practices protect our soil, air and water – elements that breathe life, and ultimately flavor, into our grapes and wines. Being good stewards of the land and good neighbors are principles our wineries and vineyards live by each and every day. Adopting environmentally and socially responsible practices and making them an integral part of how we do business is our way of ensuring the health of our land, our communities and our industry for generations to come.

Being a Sustainable Winegrower Means

Producing High Quality Grapes and Wines

Protecting the Environment

Being a Good Neighbor and Employer

Maintaining a Thriving Long-Term Business


Sustainable winegrowing practices in both vineyards and wineries help California vintners make high quality wines and provide a healthy and beautiful environment for employees, neighbors, and wine country visitors. Sustainable winegrowing can include biodynamic or organic farming practices. Some examples of sustainable practices include:

  • sheep and beneficial birds to control weeds and pests
  • cover crops, drip irrigation and process ponds to conserve water
  • composting, recycling and reuse to minimize waste
  • protecting air and water quality
  • preserving local ecosystems and wildlife habitats
  • practicing environmentally preferred purchasing

For more information, visit: www.sustainablewinegrowing.org


Wines made with organically grown grapes come from vineyards that follow the guidelines set by the National Organic Program (NOP).

  • no nonorganic crop protection materials
  • only NOP-approved materials (some synthetic materials are allowed)

Additionally, wines labeled organic cannot have added sulfites to prolong shelf life; they must be certified to contain no more than 10 parts per million.

For more information visit: www.ccof.org the USA’s largest organic certifier.


Biodynamic farming treats the vineyard as a closed loop, employing organic practices and natural alternatives for eliminating waste and promoting a healthy ecosystem.

  • no nonorganic crop protection materials
  • compost teas and natural preparations to enrich soil and promote microorganisms
  • insectaries to control pests
  • planting and pruning determined by the phases of the moon

For more information, visit: www.demeter-usa.org

About Wine Institute

Wine Institute is an association of 1,000 California wineries and wine-related businesses that initiate and advocate public policy to enhance the environment for the responsible production, consumption and enjoyment of wine.

The organization contributes to the economic and environmental vitality of California and the U.S. through leadership in sustainable winegrowing, an international marketing program that promotes awareness of and appreciation for California wines throughout the world, and a partnership with Visit California to showcase the state’s diverse and abundant wine and food offerings.

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