Making Wine in Harmony With the Environment

Sunrise at the vineyardCADE Winery, located in Angwin, Calif., has been described as “America’s greenest winery.”

CADE’s philosophy of making luxury wine in harmony with the environment begins in the soil of the 21-acre estate vineyard, where the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vines are farmed organically. As is noted on the winery’s website, CADE maintains a painstaking program of natural cultivation that will result in organic certification at the end of the required transition period.

“Change is good, green is good, organic is good,” says CADE partner John Conover about the estate’s environmentally proactive approach to winemaking. “We’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do as stewards of the land.”

Organic farming is essentially the way that intelligent farmers tended their fields for thousands of years, making the most of their land by constantly renewing it with animal fertilizer, crop rotation and the other good things available to them.

That harmony changed abruptly in many agricultural lands in the mid-20th century when chemical pesticides, herbicides and fungicides became widely available. At that time, some grape growers joined other farmers in using the new wonder chemicals to kill insect pests and pump up their plants for bigger crops, not understanding how these fertilizers and poisons would damage their soils and the environment in general.

Enlightened wine estate owners today know that going organic in their vineyards makes for healthier soil, more biologically balanced and pest-resistant grapevines, and more natural and complex wines.

Organic farming avoids synthetic fertilizers and insecticides, and encourages the use of compost and manure to create soil rich with natural nutrition and beneficial plant and animal life that help sustain the vines from year to year.

And in California, nobody does it better than CADE.

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Posted in Wine and the Environment
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