Your Account  |  Log In
Cart 0 items: $0.00

Banter or Bullshit?

"Certified" organic farming...vs faking it

I think organic farming (aka “farming like our grandparents did”) should be more widely adopted on the west coast. About 25% of all French vineyards are certified organic while California stands at about 2.5%. My French vineyards in Morgon and Fleurie are on their way to organic certification. The west coast vineyard sites I source from are not certified organic but are farmed sustainably.

I understand and respect that it is a personal (and financial) decision for every vigneron. My struggle is when some wineries (or their sales reps) say their winery is farmed organically “but isn’t certified”. As Brad Pitt snarls in Inglorious Basterds’ “Now that I can’t abide.” Why? Because some of these wineries exploit the significant marketing value of the word “organic” to sell their wine. I can’t tell you how many winery websites I've visited that speak like this, in vague, nuanced terms, often with photos of happy honeybees and flowers. Yet when I walk in their vineyards I see that they have been chemically sprayed and denuded like the surface of the moon. Organic?  No f-ing way.

I also cringe when I hear “we farm organically but we don’t certify because of the paperwork”. That’s a total cop out – the paperwork is not onerous – I’ve done it! To be authentic in the organic conversation one must abide by the well-established rules of organic certification, just like thousands of other wineries. So please, stop being a poseur if you are not – it’s just not a good look.

When will the wine media, and yes, the Somm community, start asking more specific, quantifiable questions? Yes, certification takes several years, paperwork and modest fees, and yes, it's more expensive farming, but getting “certified” organic is about making a commitment to shepherd these vineyards carefully for the short time we get to work with them. Farming certified organic speaks to a commitment, and it is expensive and labor intensive and better for our planet. Please stop faking it.