It has been around since the beginning of agriculture and continues to be the dominant form of agriculture in many places. Dry farming, or farming without irrigation has become a hot topic for farmers, conservationists and others concerned about the dwindling water supply in Northern California.
The Concern and Source
Prior to the middle of the 19th Century, all crops were essentially dry farmed because irrigation technology did not exist. The 1950s saw a dramatic boom in the use of many new irrigation technologies, which led to increases in crop yields and particular ecological issues such as shortage in water supply. The latter issue is now coming to the forefront of environmental consciousness 60 years later due to concern over water resources.
Water is already a hot environmental topic in Sonoma County and across the globe and it will continue to come to the forefront as demands for water from residential, agricultural and industrial sources increase. Northern California is fortunate in that it has a relatively ample supply of freshwater available compared to drier regions such as southern California. The Eel and Russian rivers are major sources of fresh water in Sonoma County and surrounding counties in Northern California.
What Kind of Grapes
In case you have not noticed, Sonoma County is one of the most vibrant wine-growing regions in the country and quite possibly, in the world. Their are myriad of large and small growers in Sonoma County representing diverse styles of water and land management including conventional monoculture grapes, sustainable grape-growing, organic growing and biodynamic growing practices that incorporate a complex array of ecological and biological factors into viticulture.
The purpose of this page is to examine the growing practices by different growers and provide knowledge to consumers about how green different growers really are and in what ways the industry is evolving to become a better steward of water resources and land in Northern California.
I am continuing to compile a list of grape growers that practice biodynamic and organic viticulture in Sonoma County and the surrounding areas:
1. Benzinger Family Winery-biodynamic
2. Fetzer Wines-certified organic (21% of all organic vineyards in California)
3. Natural Vines
4. Frog’s Leap
5. Anaba Wines-utilize wind power
6. Frey Vineyards
8. Le Vin Vineyards
9. Kaz Winery
10. Quivira Vieyards
11. Moon Mountain Vieyards
12. Wild Hog Vineyard-organically grown grapes; powered by solar and hyrdoelectricity
13. Torres Family Vineyards at Marimar Estate-certified organic, moving into biodynamic
14. Sky Saddle Wines-organic, biodynamic and they use dry farming!
15. Porter Creek Wines-organic, transitioning to Demeter (biodynamic) certification
More to come!!!