Sustainable Wineries For A Better, Tastier Tomorrow

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Like most of the state, California’s wine country is very serious about environmental sustainability. The ethos is a huge factor for many wineries: some focus on fish-friendly farming, which protects native aquatic life; others reject fossil fuels and opt for solar power. In growing the grapes, wineries can opt to be organic (meaning the grapes are grown without artificial chemicals), or biodynamic, a system meant to protect the soil, pay farmers well, and maintain other factors that contribute to overall sustainability.


Fish Friendly Farming

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Wineries /

Seasons of the Vineyard Tasting Bar and Boutique

Ferrari-Carano Winery and Gardens, a massive property, recently had every one of its farms and gardens certified as fish friendly, so you can taste the winery’s offerings while knowing that nearby wildlife is being kept safe. The wines, of course, are what attract most visitors, but the five spectacular acres of gardens are what keeps them there for hours. Some areas look like they were lifted straight from an Italian villa, while others are home to bronze sculptures crafted by world-renowned artists specifically for the gardens.

Insider Tip

Though flowers are always coloring Ferrari-Carano Winery and Gardens, the springtime is a jaw-dropping occasion, thanks to the appearance of more than 10,000 tulips and daffodils.

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Wineries with Solar Panels

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Wineries / Healdsburg

Dry Creek Vineyard

Sustainability, the owners of Dry Creek Vineyards proclaim, is a way of life, which is why they have been pioneers in powering their entire operation via solar energy. The team behind the winery have also recently restored the habitat alongside Dry Creek, so visitors can see the same wildlife that greeted the area’s pioneers centuries ago. The spacious and rustic tasting room is an excellent retreat, with serene images of northern California flora and fauna.

Insider Tip

Call ahead and schedule a tour for more insight about Dry Creek Vineyards’ ambitious solar panel project, and other sustainability efforts.

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Wineries /

Patz & Hall

Patz & Hall Winery is another Sonoma County operation that is powered by the sun: just like the grapes use solar rays to grow, so does the winery use them to do everything. The sleek tasting room is a cosmopolitan escape, and the wines available have been lauded by many wine groups. Visitors can gather around the fire on cloudy days or gaze out at the Mayacamas mountains from the giant windows.

Insider Tip

Each tasting comes with some small food pairings, including various gourmet dips and soups, so you’ll know exactly what to drink a bottle with back home.

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Biodynamic

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Wineries / Glen Ellen

Imagery Estate Winery

A biodynamic pioneer, Imagery Estate Winery was certified as a biodynamic farm two decades ago, so they have years of experience recycling farm waste and greywater into grape heaven. The winery can get busy, especially on weekends, but the staff is known for taking care of each guest as if the winery was a tiny affair. The tasting room is rustic but has a funky flair, and the winemakers are renowned for their experimentation. Imagery Estate Winery is focused on bringing edgier flavors and obscure varieties to the mainstream, so the staff is very enthusiastic about introducing guests to new wines.

Insider Tip

Imagery Estate Winery claims that a $15 tasting includes 5 wines – but the staff is very loose with that number. Friendly guests might find themselves tasting 10 wines or more for the same price.

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Wineries / Glen Ellen

Benziger Family Winery

Benzinger Family Winery values authenticity above all, which is likely why the vineyards are certified biodynamic, organic, and sustainable. Expect to be delighted by grand views from the elegant tasting room or from the vineyards. Specialized tours pour tastings in the cozy ranch house, which dates back to 1868, or the newly renovated library under dazzling chandeliers. Not only are the vineyards lovely to look at, they’re also ecologically sustainable, with a focus on utilizing livestock — chickens, cows, and goats — to cut down on weeds and pests.

Insider Tip

If you have kids along with you, Benziger Family Winery offers a tour of their vineyards and up-close views of the farm animals.

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Organic

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Wineries / Healdsburg

Martorana Family Winery

Every wine released by Martorana Family Winery is made from 100-percent organic grapes — an impressive agricultural feat in and of itself. No chemical pesticides or fertilizers have been used in the winery’s production for at least 10 years. The stone-shrouded tasting room is sunny and lively, and visitors will find they are in the company of many others who place a lot of value on ecological sustainability.

Insider Tip

The wines aren’t the only organic products created by Martorana Family Winery: the owners sell an array of infused organic olive oils, pressed on site.

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Wineries / Healdsburg

Quivira Vineyards & Winery

Quivira Vineyards is a slice of California sunshine: even the outside of the tasting room is painted a bright, sunny yellow. This love for sun and nature transfer to the winery’s production process, where all the wines are 100-percent organic. Beyond this certification, Quivira Vineyards also stresses planting and harvesting to the rhythm of the earth’s natural cycles in order to preserve the soil and keep the grapes healthy, year after year.

Insider Tip

Along with the vineyards, the property is home to a great garden to stroll through, complete with chickens and other livestock.

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