In 2008—after more than a decade of sustainably farming our estate vineyards, and after five years of experimenting with new organic treatments—we began the process of organic certification. The move to organic farming brings our viticulture in line with our traditional winemaking, which employs only the noninvasive treatments used in fine winemaking since the mid-19th century.
“We have made steady progress in our transition to organic practices over the last seven years, and were able to certify our first vineyards in 2011,” says David Gates, head of vineyard operations since 1988. Our Lytton Springs and Geyserville zinfandels will be certified organic by 2015. Likewise, more than ninety-five percent of the Monte Bello and Estate cabernet grapes will be certified by then. “Our plan is to make every possible block organic,” says Gates.
We recently became aware that Ridge, though by no means a large grower, is the largest grower of organically farmed grapes in Sonoma County, and in the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation.
This information was reported by Pam Strayer, and resulted from research for her new software applications, Organically Sonoma: A Tasting and Touring Guide, and Organically Sonoma: Wine Finder. The information was a surprise to us, but served to remind us of the significant commitment we have made to organic farming.
East Bench is already 100% organic. Geyserville, and possibly Lytton Springs, will be so by next year. We plan to release the 2013 East Bench Zinfandel as the first Ridge wine to be labeled “100% organically farmed grapes.” Our Monte Bello and Estate Cabernets will be totally organic in the next few years.
“We decided to farm organically because we believe it leads to better grapes and higher quality wines. True organic farming focuses attention on the health of each individual vine, and on the soil’s microbiological life. We are stewards of the land; farming organically is the right thing to do—for our employees, the community, and for future generations. This approach in the vineyard, plus our traditional approach to winemaking, will provide the finest possible wines for our customers,” stated Paul Draper, CEO and Head Winemaker.