As avid travelers we want the best of the best as we spend our time and money on experiences around the world. Each year we honor several fabulous locations and establishments by including them in our Champion Traveler Honors. Napa Valley is known for its wines but California is also known for their environmentally-friendly governmental policies and business owners (large and small). We’re proud of these wineries for making the necessary changes needed to keep the wine flowing and our planet healthy for generations to come. We particularly like what Green Pearls has to say about sustainability:
Why should the traveler leave his concerns on the environment at home? The responsible traveler seeks a place where sustainability and comfort are combined. Sustainable Tourism is trying to find a balance between usage and limits by planning on a long-term basis. Its objective is protecting the environment and local culture as well as improving the social balance in the regions.
Here are our selections for the best sustainable and/or organic wineries in Napa Valley:
Mary T Beller brought her own personal verve to wine country when she moved to the area more than 20 years ago. Originally from Montgomery, Alabama, T has been shaking things up as a connector and community leader since she got here. She founded Verve Napa Valley in 2012 as the natural intersection of her passions for sharing art, wine, and the Napa Valley lifestyle.
Since the beginning, Domaine Carneros has pushed the sustainability envelope to ensure we live as lightly on the land as possible while producing great grapes and wine. These efforts include our owl boxes providing natural solution for rodent management, in addition to using grape pomace from harvest to feed local cattle.
Benziger Family Winery
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.
“Chateau Montelena Winery has been a pioneer in sustainability for over 40 years. In short, we were green before being green was trendy. When the Barrett’s restarted Montelena in the early 1970’s it was during the time of the hippies “back to the land” movement and the words we used then were “Environmentalism” and so forth.” – Bo Barrett, CEO
“The only way to achieve that super clean look was by using heavy duty chemicals,” says Doug Shafer. “We realized it was the wrong direction.”
It meant tainting the soil with rodent poison to kill gophers, spraying potent herbicides to kill unwanted foliage, applying powerful insecticides to vanquish pests such as the blue-green sharpshooter, and by relying on chemical fertilizers to feed stripped-down soil. Today we are 100 percent solar powered, we reuse and recycle our water, make our own compost for fertilizer. We partner with owls, songbirds, hawks, bats and other wildlife to cultivate successful vineyards and rely on cover crops to help control insects that would otherwise blight our vines.
At HALL, we are passionate about environmental responsibility and sustainable stewardship of our land. All of our vineyards have been certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). Farming organically involves committing to two principals: ecological production and maintaining organic integrity. Additionally, production methods must conserve soil, pollute little, and promote a healthy ecosystem.
We value the land and we also value its creation, which is why we continue the tradition of hand picking all of the grapes throughout our estate vineyards. Once the grapes are brought to our winemaking facility, we process the grapes with innovative techniques to ensure the highest standard and quality of our wine.
Markham Vineyards’ view of wine growing has always been to respect the land and fruit while working diligently to make both better. The only difference is now our objective has a name: sustainability. Using cover crops and alternate row cultivation to limit tractor and fossil fuel emissions, while still encouraging beneficial insect and plant growth, are methods that we have been using for many decades. It is a normal part of our vineyard management routine. Sustainability starts in the field and focuses on environmentally beneficial land management practices.
Since 2005, Adastra’s vineyards have been certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), which has among the strictest standards in the nation for organic agriculture. Grapegrowers must farm their grapes organically according to CCOF standards for three years prior to certification.
In addition to completing a comprehensive application form (a stack of paper about 1.5” thick), the grower is required to maintain an ongoing log of farm activities, which is reviewed annually by independent inspectors.
We believe that organically farmed grapes taste better, and therefore make better wine. But besides quality products, there are tangible benefits from organic farming, including a healthier soil and healthier environment, making Adastra a more pleasant place to work and live. We are also certified by Fish Friendly Farming and Napa Green.
Far Niente Wineries
We believe in the value of vineyard ownership as a means of producing wines of exceptional quality, distinctive character and consistency year after year. The ability to make autonomous decisions about the vineyards provides the winemaking team with a great amount of control and flexibility, while ensuring the high quality care of the vines. Far Niente owns 300 vineyard acres located in some of the most coveted regions of the Napa Valley.
Additional Organic & Sustainable Wineries in Napa
Congratulations to all of the incredible sustainable and organic wineries above. We salute your commitment to the planet’s health and to ours. Check out our guide to finding the best time of the year to visit Napa Valley. Here’s a list of several other sustainable & organic wineries in Napa Valley if you’re looking for even more:
Araujo Estate — Biodynamic
Casa Nuestra – Sustainable and Organic
Charles Krug – Sustainable
Ehlers Estate – Biodynamic
Frog’s Leap — Sustainable, Certified Organic
Grgich Hills – Sustainable
Honig Cellars — Sustainable
La Rocca Vineyards, Certified Organic
Long Meadow Ranch – Certified Organic
Napa Wine Company
Peju Province — Certified Organic
Robert Keenan Winery — Sustainable
Robert Sinskey – Biodynamic
Silver Mountain Vineyards – Certified Organic
Staglin Family Vineyard – Certified Organic
Spotswoode — Certified Organic
Spring Mountain Vineyards — Sustainable
Tres Sabores — Certified Organic
ZD Wines — Certified Organic