A Wine Lover’s Gift Guide: FIVE Organic Wine Guides

DaVero Biodynamic Winery and Farm saves seeds in Sonoma

Did you know that about half of the fine wine wineries with certified organic vines also make wine from grapes grown with pesticides? While you might ASSUME because their estate wines are organic that the other wines are also, you’d probably be wrong. 

This is one of the reasons why on the fifth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:

DaVero’s beautiful biodynamic farm is featured in the organic Sonoma and the biodynamic wine guide

A BETTER ME AND A BETTER WE? There’s only one place on the internet to find organically or biodynamically grown wines from fine wine producers where only wines from certified vines are included– Wine Country Geographic — where you’ll find links to five different guides to help you get in your glass organic and biodynamic wine:

Further, as a subscriber, these sites tell you which wines are from the organic vines, because, as noted above, some wineries make wines from grapes grown with pesticides and pesticide free, organically grown and certified wines. 
If you’re dreaming of a wine Christmas that’s also a “green” gift this holiday season, these special, unique, one of a kind guides — which are accessible from any device — show thoughtfulness and care in their approach and as a gift. 
The guides are the brainchild of Pam Strayer who I met in 2016 at the Wine Blogger’s Conference in Lodi; we’ve been good friends ever since. Pam’s background in technology and journalism, and her experience as an editor for Slow Wine, led her to develop these guides. Back in 2010, she first started studying what chemicals were being used in vineyards, and she was shocked to see that wine grapes were being grown with such toxic chemicals. Those producers using those chemicals including carcinogens, reproductive toxins and more “were among the loudest voices in the so-called sustainability movement,” she says. “No one was looking at the pesticide use records the state of California collects. So these marketers were doing a lot fake green marketing.”

Pesticides and toxic herbicides like Roundup that get sprayed on and around vines end up in wine. “We now have high tech mass spectrometry that shows us that conventional and sustainable wines have as much as 500-1000% more pesticide residues in them compared to organic or biodynamically grown wine,” writes Pam. “The latest science shows us these herbicides are  are linked to cancer and liver diseases. And then there’s the fungicides: bee and bird toxins, neurotoxins and more. They’re in the wine, too. But only in the conventional and “sustainable” wines.”

But it’s more than just how bad the pesticides are for the environment. that led her to create these guides:

“What has amazed me is how incredible the wines from wineries with organic vineyards are.”

wine tasting at DaVero

Some of the top wineries in California are organic but “they are very low key in talking about organics in their marketing,” says Pam.  “You’re better off going for the organic wine every time. The universe of fine wines from organic vines spans everything from wines around $15-25 to the most expensive wines in the marketplace.”
She says she wrote these websites to help consumers find the best producers. With organic wine, “There is no compromise in quality and in terms of price, organic is free. In wine, no one charges more for organically grown wines. Amazing.” 
Because while producing organic wine and getting certified is more expensive, most producers do it because they have a passion for the product and for the planet– not because they can make an extra buck.
“Once you figure this out, you’ll be a total fan of these wineries,” says Pam confidently, and these sites are the ONLY place in the world to find these producers and these wines. The sites also offer discounts and plenty of info about how to visit and taste once we return to touring and traveling. Classes and workshops are coming too, and Pam and I have talked about doing some projects together including holding creativity and writing workshops at biodynamic wineries which are beautiful and inspiring places to be. 

Biodynamic wineries include animals like the baby pigs at DaVero

The site has rave reviews from important voices in the world of organic and biodynamic wine. Former president of Demeter (biodynamic certification organization) and regenerative food and wine industry consultant Elizabeth Candelario says,
These sites are must have resources for all wine lovers who are concerned about greenwashing and want to know what wines are produced with certified organic or biodynamic grapes.”

Monty Waldin,  author of numerous books on organic and biodynamic wines, and the head judge in Tuscany for the Decanter World Wine Awards  writes “Pam Strayer’s coverage of organic, biodynamic and natural wines stateside is based on rigorous research into individual wineries’ wine growing and winemaking practices.” 

EMAIL Pam Strayer at Winecountrygeographic@gmail.com to subscribe.

Mention Wine Predator to get all five guides for the price of four!
That’s a savings of $25 a year. 

Subscriptions can also be ordered by paypal to Pam Strayer aka winecountrygeographic.com

one of the inviting paths at DaVero

Photos from my October 2020 visit to DaVero which was certified in biodynamic in 2011/2012. With nearly 100 acres, the topography of DaVero Farms and Estates is varied and includes Dry Creek and Winter Creek. Founders Ridgely Evers and Colleen McGlynn wanted to set their olive oil apart from the rest. Once certified organic, they learned about biodynamics and committed to developing an interdependent ecosystem.These days, Ridgely Evers is all about sequestering carbon– and the dedication to this goal includes partnering with others and mentoring them along the way to becoming certified as well as purchasing their grapes.

Read more about DaVero and my visit to Healdsburg here.

2 thoughts on “A Wine Lover’s Gift Guide: FIVE Organic Wine Guides

  1. So glad you posted this info about Pam Strayer’s work. I have been looking for guidance in this area. Will be interesting to compare her work with the organic/bio listings for Napa and Sonoma in Ben Lewin’s guidebooks. I requested subscription info from Pam and mentioned you and your blog. Many thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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