Organically Sonoma was created to showcase the inspiring, organic side of Sonoma's wine industry.
We cover producers with certified organic or biodynamic estate vines.
Organically Sonoma is the only place to find:
• Exclusive, original, In depth listings on producers with certified organic estate vines
This site is the only source written by an independent author (not produced by an industry organization or tourism bureau).
• Wine lists showing which wines are from certified vines
Many producers with organic vines also make wine from non-organic sources but don't indicate that on their websites or in their tasting rooms. This guide shows you which wines are produced from organic vines alone.
• Organic overviews on individual wine regions
Discover Sonoma's organic hotspots—where organic producers are concentrated—and get overviews on each region's organic growers and wineries.
• Essential information on organic and biodynamic topics
Educational news overviews help you learn the difference between various eco-friendly practices, organic alternatives to toxic chemicals and much more.
• Touring and tasting guides
Find the wines, wineries and experiences that fit your budget, taste or location. Want to relax by the river? Or do some serious tasting? Build a bucket list for whatever you're looking for.
• Local news and interviews
Read news briefs and articles on organic producers, top wines, travel advice, tastemakers and more.
Discover producers making a difference! And have fun along the way.
Organically Sonoma is written and published by Pam Strayer, a leading authority on wines from certified organic and biodynamic vines. She founded Wine Country Geographic in 2010 to publish guides, apps and websites to help consumers and professionals learn about organic and biodynamic producers and wines.
Pam is currently Senior Editor of Slow Wine Guide 2020 (in California) and writes on organic and biodynamic topics for wine industry publications including Beverage Media, Wine Enthusiast, and Wines & Vines. She has also reported on the scientists featured in the recent Roundup trials for Civil Eats.
Pam has also lectured on organic and biodynamic wine topics in invited talks for local environmental groups in Napa and Sonoma, moderated Demeter USA panels on biodynamic wine at Healdsburg SHED and in Oregon, and lectured for Women of the Vine & Spirits and at Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State University's Wine Business Institute.
A former health news editor and writer who launched the successful Healthcentral.com dotcom with Dr. Dean Edell in 1997 and DNA.com in 1999, Pam has worked with leading scientists and researchers for more than 20 years to bring cutting edge coverage of science and medicine to millions of consumers and clinicians.
In 2010, after collaborating with world famous cancer genetics experts (from Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Stanford and other institutions), she discovered the pesticide use report data (required in California) and became alarmed by the many toxic chemicals routinely used in vineyards, even in "sustainable" ones.
Susan Kegley, then chief scientist at Pesticide Action Network, helped her by identifying the top "chemicals of concern" used in vineyards--carcinogens, developmental and reproductive toxins, bird and bee toxins and neurotoxins.
Pam decided to research the. producers who don't use these dangerous chemicals, zeroing in on those with certified organic vines. She was surprised to find there was no list of these producers. In her research, she also saw that these producers were overrepresented in top wine rankings meaning there were even more reasons to seek them out.
In 2013 Pam published her first consumer project: seven apps (no longer available) on organically grown wines of Napa and Sonoma and apps on biodynamic producers. These were featured in the L.A. Times on Earth Day.
In 2018, Pam and Elizabeth Canderlario, Demeter USA President cofounded the first International Biodynamic Wine Conference, The two day conference took place in San Francisco's Presidio with 47 wineries participating from the U.S., Argentina, Chile, France, and Italy. She served as Conference Program Director, bringing together more than 68 speakers from leading estates who served on 31 panels. It was the largest gathering of biodynamic wine professionals in the world.
The conference was huge leap forward in creating awareness about the importance of eco friendly wines, not just for health and the environment, but for taste and flavor. But the conference was just the beginning.
The next phase--helping consumers and wine professionals learn more about organic and biodynamic options--launches here.
"I just wanted to extend my thanks...for your presentation on organics and biodynamics. The depth of information presented was astounding."
-Damien Wilson, Hamel Family Faculty Chair of Wine Business, Sonoma State University, Wine Business Institute
"My heartfelt thanks go out to senior editor Pam Strayer, the newest member of our team...
"The expansion of coverage for this year’s guide is thanks in great part to Pam, a former environmental and health journalist who now writes passionately and expertly about organic and biodynamic viticulture.
Thanks to her extensive contacts on the ground and her impressive experience tasting wines across the state, our team has managed to nearly double the number of wineries we covered last year.
The energy and commitment that she brings to our work have been an inspiration for me."
-Jeremy Parzen, Coordinating Editor for North America, Slow Wine Guide
Organically Sonoma Launches: New Website to Help Consumers Find Wineries and Wines from Certified Organic Vines
Sept. 18, 2019
Wine Country Geographic announces the launch of OrganicallySonoma.com, a new website designed to help consumers and wine professionals find estate wines from certified organic vines from Sonoma’s leading vintners.
A total of 47 estate wineries in the county have certified organic vines. Twenty of the 47 wineries are 100% organic within the winery brand.
Sonoma’s Organic Wines Are Made with Sulfites
All of the wines made from organic estate vines go into wines made with sulfites. Seven wineries are certified organic facilities making wines at the “Made with Organic Grapes” standard. The rest qualify for “Ingredients: Organic Grapes” wine status, though few are bottle labeled with this language.
Four wineries make Demeter certified biodynamic wines.
Organic Vineyards Are 3% of County's Vines
Sonoma County has approximately 1,830 acres of certified organic vines, representing 2.9% of the county’s 62,465 planted vineyard acres.
Of these,1,482 acres are owned by estate wineries. Growers certify an additional 348 acres of organic vines.
Sonoma’s Leadership Role in Biodynamics
The county has 12 biodynamic estate producers and three biodynamic growers, making Sonoma the county with the largest number of biodynamic wineries and growers in the country. (Other regions - Oregon and Mendocino County - have more acreage, but fewer wineries). The county’s total biodynamic acreage is 501 acres, which represents 27% of the organic acreage.
Four of Sonoma’s top six organic vineyard owners are also certified biodynamic, making the county a leader in biodynamic vineyards.
“We know that more and more consumers are concerned about pesticides in wines,” said author and publisher Pam Strayer, who formerly served as editor in chief of Healthcentral.com, DNA.com and other health websites.
“According to the California Dept. of Pesticide Regulation, in 2017 Sonoma growers and vintners used 74,815 pounds of glyphosate on 48,116 acres of wine grape vines. Glyphosate is the leading ingredient in Roundup,” she said, “which we now know is a carcinogen.”
In three lawsuits in California, beginning in 2018, Bayer, the parent company of Monsanto, has been found guilty of causing deaths due to Roundup use. Juries awarded victims of non Hodgkin lymphoma more than $2 billion in damages. Bayer’s stock has decreased from $31 a share in January 2018 to $18 in Sept. 2019, losing 41 percent of its value over that period.
“While seven cities and the county of Sonoma have all voted to ban glyphosate from public spaces, parks and schools, Sonoma’s growers continue to pour thousands of pounds of Roundup into the soil, despite the fact that the Sonoma Winegrape Growers says 99 percent of the county’s vineyards are certified sustainable.”
“We know from the wine industry’s own market research that 43% of consumers think sustainable means organic,” Strayer said. “It’s time for consumers to know the facts. Almost all of Sonoma’s sustainable growers, according to their pesticide use reports, use carcinogenic herbicides and fungicides that contain bird and bee toxins.”
According to state statistics, in 2017 Sonoma County’s sustainable growers applied 9,751 pounds of boscalid, a bird and bee toxin, to 36,393 acres of vines.
Organic growers do not use any of these toxic chemicals.
“We know from several nonprofit groups’ testing that sustainably grown wines have from five to ten times more glyphosate residue in them, in general, than organically grown wines,” Strayer said. “Consumers who want to reduce their exposure to glyphosate should eat an organic diet and buy organically grown wines.”
Sonoma’s organic growers mirror the general distribution of wine types made in the county with Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel among the top 3 varieties produced.
“We think this represents a tremendous value to consumers seeking a more health conscious lifestyle,” Strayer said. “Consumers can choose to support organic farming and enjoy great wines at the same time. There’s no compromise. Most of the wineries featured are among Sonoma’s finest.”
“Consumers need to be educated that the organic conversation, when it comes to wine, should focus on pesticides and farming, not sulfites,” she said. “None of the wines made in Sonoma are made without sulfites. All of these winemakers, like most organic producers in Europe, use limited amounts of sulfites in making their wine.”
For $25 a year, Organically Sonoma subscribers get information on:
• Award winning wines from mountain grown Cabs to old vine Zin, Russian River Pinots and more
• In depth producer profiles on 47 estate wineries with certified organic vines
• 250+ wines (from $20-$250)
• Dozens of great tasting and touring destinations
The organic wine category has been growing rapidly in Europe, where 10% of vineyards in Spain, Italy and France are either certified or in transition to organic certification. The organic wine market in the EU is expected to increase dramatically by 2022.
“Sonoma’s organic growers are definitely in the vanguard of this movement and have made tremendous strides, thanks to the vineyard management leadership over decades of dedicated experts like Phil Coturri, Amigo Bob Cantisano and others,” Strayer said. “It’s time for this movement to take off and for consumers to vote with their dollars and tell the industry: great wines from organic vines are what we, the consumers, want.”
Visitors can check out the new website at www.organicallysonoma.com.
Wine Country Geographic also offers services including wine buying consults, trip planning, and tour guide services.
Wine Country Geographic
Wine Country Geographic is a publishing company that provides consumers and wine professionals with guides to wines grown from certified organic vines. It also publishes OrganicallyNapa.com. Two more guides, one on California's Central Coast and one on Oregon, will launch in October.
Wine Country Geographic was founded by Pam Strayer, the leading expert on organic and biodynamic wines from the U.S.. She has written and spoken widely on vineyards and pesticides and on organic and biodynamic wine topics.
Her articles have appeared in the industry magazines Wines & Vines, Wine Business Monthly and Beverage Media. Ms. Strayer has also conducted online classes on organic topics for Women of the Vine & Spirits and spoken to classes at Healdsburg SHED, Santa Rosa Junior College, and Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute. She served as Conference Program Director for Demeter USA’s 2018 International Biodynamic Wine Conference. Currently she is a Senior Editor for California wines in Slow Food's wine book, Slow Wine Guide 2020.
Certified Organic Vines in Sonoma
Certified Acres | 1,830 acres of certified organic vines
Percentage | 2.9%
Number of producers with organic estate vineyards | 47
Number of producers who make only organically grown estate wines | 14
Number of wines | 250+
Organic certifiers used by Sonoma vintners | CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmer), Organic Certifiers
Biodynamic Certifier | Demeter USA
Organically Grown Wines from Sonoma
Wines from Bordeaux grapes (Cabernet, Cab blends, Merlot and more) were the most popular. Rhone wines (Grenache, Syrah, and more) made up the second largest category.
28% | Bordeaux: Cabernet and more
21% | Rhone: Grenache, Syrah and more
18% | Burgundian: Pinot and Chardonnay
16% | Heritage Reds: Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Blends and more
7% | Rosé
4% | Italian Grapes: Barbera, Fiano, Greco, Montepulciano, Sagrantino and Sangiovese
6% | Other: heritage whites, sparkling wines. dessert wines
Sonoma’s organic producers as a group represent more than $15.7 million in wine grape value.*
Based on calculations by the Sonoma County Vintners of the total wine value from wines made in Sonoma, the portion represented by the organic sector in terms of retail value is $216 million.**
*Calculated at 2.9% of the total value of all wine grapes - $578 million - in Sonoma in the 2017 Sonoma County Crop Report.
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