Doug Shafer stopped using pesticides on his family’s vines 18 years ago after he noticed a skull and crossbones on the label of his herbicide.
“I said, ‘Whoa.’ I have three young kids who play in these vineyards. What am I doing to them?” Shafer told Newsweek magazine.
The veteran vintner says he now uses a natural echinacea ground cover and organic soap on his vines to knock back bug infestations, and his Shafer Vineyards is 100 percent solar powered. He composts all the grape skins and stems, and recycles about 5,000 gallons of water each day during harvest season.
“You can’t quantify flavor scientifically, but I know from the reactions I get from our customers that our wine is better, and I am a better and kinder farmer because of these changes,” Shafer added.