This is the second in a three part series to define and demystify the terms organic, sustainable, and biodynamic when it comes to wine. Misinformation in this topic is common, so we’re hoping to help bring some clarity to the issue. Following the three part series we’ll present several posts on the philosophy of ‘green’ wine and profiles of some of our favorite environmentally conscious producers. Enjoy!

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A commitment to Sustainable agriculture gives a grower the flexibility to address potentially cataclysmic threats to their vineyard while remaining a faithful steward of the lands they are working.  The goal of Sustainable agriculture is to farm Organically when possible, while retaining the ability to react to problems that might otherwise ruin a harvest.  Many Sustainable producers are growing grapes in marginal climates that simply do not allow them the luxury of farming completely Organically every vintage.  Other Sustainable grape growers are working towards their Organic certification but do not yet have a long enough history of Organic farming in their vineyards to qualify for Organic certification.

Sustainable growers may use synthetic chemical additives in their vineyards only as a last resort and not at all in many vintages.

One of the other main reasons to be ‘sustainable’ as opposed to ‘organic’ involves certification. A vast majority of wineries on the list below have never, and will never, use any chemicals on their vineyards. “We live here, we have owned the land for generations, and we are not going to poison it,” is how Catarina Zanon of Zuani describes their farming practices. “But are we certified organic? No. We chose to not have the intervention of the government, the paperwork, and the costs involved. We simply choose to farm naturally and reasonably.” This is a mindset followed by many.

An interesting subset of the Sustainable wine movement is the Oregon Certified Sustainable Wine program. You can learn more about this amazing program though the Argyle website.

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Here’s a partial list of our SUSTAINABLE producers at The Wine Company. This list grows everyday as we get more information from our wineries. Please contact us with any questions.

Bianchi/Elsa      Argentina
2,500 feet above sea level, the coolest area in San Rafael, Bianchi vineyards show Argentine depth and oenological sophistication

Decero     Argentina
High and dry in the foothills of the Andes, wines from Agrelo have earned a place among Mendoza’s finest 

Elderton (all)     Australia
Home to row upon row of gnarled old vines in the heart of Barossa -benchmarks of rich, ripe, and lush wines

Tir Na N’Og, (all)         Australia
From treasured old vine Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre, a taste of this Land of Youth proves McLaren Vale’s highest altitudes

Wishing Tree (all)         Western Australia       Margaret River
“…These offerings represent exceptional value. How importer John Larchet is able to put together blends like this at such reasonable prices is remarkable.”  Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, Issue 155, Oct 2004

Anton Bauer (all)          Austria
Along the Danube lie the hills of the Wagram, south-facing slopes, terraced vineyards of loess soil, and an exceptional microclimate responsible for producing the high quality grapes that are respected as heralds of this gifted terroir.

Hiedler     Austria
Beguiling extract and unique site specific signatures mark these wines with Kamptal’s singularities -fascinating wines

Steininger     Austria
Outstanding glimpse at Kamptal’s ability to not only craft Grand Cru Gruner Veltliner but sparkling and spicy red Zweigelt

Blanchet (all)    France
Tasting these Pouilly Fume get you closer to the soul of the place than even visiting it in person -incredible values

Chateau l’Ermitage (all) France
Southern exposure, fresh sea breezes and pebbly soils yield wines that strike a nostalgic pang for classic Rhone

Eric Forest (all) France
A great steward to his father’s choice plots of Pouilly Fuisse, Eric’s wines are among white Burgundy’s finest values

Mont Olivet     France
40+ year old vines planted to the rocky “gallet” carpet of the region -wondrous & traditional expressions of the S. Rhone

Vins de Vienne     France
Spectacular partnership of Northern Rhone visionaries Gaillard, Cuilleron, and Villard is almost too good to be true

Col Vetoraz      Italy
Preserving traditional ways, these densely planted, low yielding vines bring to the world astounding Prosecco 

Frascole (all)    Italy
As dynamic as textural, these Chianti are redolent of breeding and taste of time -land tended since the Etruscans

Ghizzano          Italy
In Tuscany since the 14th century, the Venerosi Pesciolinis have worked in harmony with nature for nearly 700 years 

Ricasoli     Italy
It is true that “Ricasoli literally wrote the book on how to make Chianti Classico”  – James Suckling

Zuani “Vigne”    Italy
 A Friulian “cru”, on a gentle hillside where choice white grape vines and gardens surround the Zuani cellar.

Dog Point (all)  New Zealand
What came of the talents that put Cloudy Bay and New Zealand for that matter on the world wine map?  Dog Point.

Lobster Reef     New Zealand
Embodies Marlborough with Pinot noir and Sauvignon blanc that burst with aromas and flavors unique to New Zealand

Mohua     New Zealand
Tell tale Central Otago wines from New Zealand’s south island, with plenty of uplifting character ripe for the table

Luzon (all)        Spain
Fruity, floral, fragrant and fleshy Monastrell (Mourvedre to the French) from worthy region of Jumilla (hoo-MEE-yah)

Marques de Gelida/ El Cep     Spain
From the mild highlands of Penedes, crossroad of the ancient world, land of Cava, and source of sparkling Spaniards

Muga     Spain
Dare I say this is Rioja as it ought to be? If only they all could.  Muga to many is the Alpha and the Omega of Riojan wine

Teso La Monja   Spain
Planted in Toro, this is Tinto de Toro (aka Tempranillo) of a darker yet elegant complexion with character to spare

Argyle     USA
Gifted plots, talented winemaking, noble varieties (Chardonnay & Pinot noir) and sparkling to boot make this superlative  

Bethel Heights (all)        USA
Planting one of the first vineyards in the Eola Hills, the Casteels deserve all the praise one reads of their moving wines

Blacksmith (all) USA
Matt Smith shows what commitment can foster among the hills of Sonoma -these are great American originals

Cain     USA
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec & Petit Verdot planted on steep terraces cut into the mountainside

Cain Five          USA
High above St Helen on the top of Spring Mountain, this is one of Napa’s finest; period.

Chasing Venus     New Zealand
Making Sauvignon blanc in the style for which New Zealand is famous with pungent grapefruit and snappy gooseberry

Cliff Lede         USA
55 choice acres of Napa Valley planted to the finest clones of the traditional Bordeaux grape varieties yields terrific wine 

Cline (all)          USA
Jaw dropping Zinfandels were only the beginning.  Try 80 to 110 year old vine Mourvedre and the myriad other wonders

Domaine Drouhin Oregon (all)  USA
The miraculous combination of one of Burgundy’s finest families putting their shoulder to the wheel in Willamette Valley

Duxoup     USA
The answer for those yearning for less likely varietal wines from California. Might I tempt you with Charbono or Dolcetto perhaps?  Their Gamay, Sangiovese and Syrah are also extraordinary and worth trying repeatedly at table or even solo

Eyrie (all)          USA
Established by the Letts in 1966, these are the first plantings of Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Pinot gris in all of Willamette

Green & Red (all)      USA
Perhaps the most sophisticated Zinfandels around, these are low yield, masterfully made wines of depth, balance and length

Guilliams, Cabernet Sauvignon  USA
Knock out, family made, Spring Mountain District Cabernet showing what wondrous wines a once cooper is capable of making

Iron Horse     USA
Served at the White house for five consecutive presidential administrations, these are extraordinary -especially the bubbly

Jacuzzi (all)       USA
Designed and piloted some of the earliest airplanes, built the world’s favorite whirlpool, and they make great varietal wines

Januik     USA
Family-owned. Artisan winemaking. Acclaimed Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon -award winning wines

Matchbook      USA
Combines to great effect the structure of coastal fruit with the warmly ripened depth of that from the Dunnigan Hills

Montelena        USA
A name that preceeds itself; of California wine history, triumphing over the French at their own art, and keeping it in the family

Mossback     USA
True to agrarian roots, the Giguieres make Pinot and Chardonnay from Russian River and Cabernet Sauvignon from Chalk Hill

Mount Eden     USA
Low yielding clones from Chassagne Montrachet among other places were planted in 1948 and make some of America’s finest

Novelty Hill     USA
A delicious result of world class grape varieties planted to Washington state’s keen climate and crafted into wine by Mike Januik

Pedroncelli (all) USA
Distinctive and consistent quality wines which ever bear the signature of Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley, all of these are delightful

Penner Ash (all)            USA
Celebrated as a taste of Oregon from Willamette to vineyard specific Pinot noirs, Syrah -even the oldest Riesling in the state

Sawbuck     USA
From the northern edge of the California wine country (Mendocino and Yolo Counties) come tasty wines all their own

Seven Hills     USA
Masterful assortment of wines from Washington’s Walla Walla Valley including cutting-edge red blends and varietal whites

Solena     USA
Estate Pinot noir from Yamhill and McMinnville, Pinot Gris, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, & Late Harvest Riesling from select sites throughout Oregon. Thoughfully made by Laurent Montalieu and Danielle Andrus Montalieu

Trefethen (all)   USA
Entirely made from estate fruit from the very start, these wines could serve as touchstones by which to compare the rest of Napa Valley. Combining depth, balance, terroir, and varietal character, these are rare wines and the Trefethens terrific people

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