Great wine - made sustainably - is a win-win for California visitors

Great wine – made sustainably – is a win-win for California visitors 

Sustainability has seen a steady rise in importance in tourism with many Canadian travellers aiming to do their part.

With this in mind, Visit California recently put together a Top 10 list of some of the most sustainable wineries in the USA’s biggest wine-producing state. California produces 85% of the nation’s wine.

Here’s a look at the list. Cheers!

1. Lavineyard Farms

Just outside Redding in the tiny town of Whitmore, the family-owned Lavineyard Farms produces its Italian varietal wines using organic farming methods. In addition to wine sampling, clients can pick over 140 varieties of lavender, the largest collection in western USA.

2. Frey Wines

Thirty years ago, Frey Wines in Mendocino County became the country’s first biodynamic and organic winery. This trailblazing winery features a wide variety of reds and whites made with sustainability and taste in mind, plus they’re also vegan and gluten-free.

3. Go Green in Sierra Foothills

With more than 70 wineries, the vintners of El Dorado County are putting the Sierra Foothills on the oenophile map. Golden Leaves transitioned from conventional farming to no-till, glyphosate-free and bee-friendly farming. They take a low intervention, biodynamic approach to creating wine at Narrow Gates Vineyard, while Chateau Davell uses no pesticides or chemical fertiliser in the field while bottling its wine with recycled labels and Rain Forest Alliance-certified corks.

4. Sustainable Sonoma

In Sonoma, travellers can take a tractor tour at the Benziger Family Winery for an up-close view of the biodynamic wine-growing process. Then, a wine-tasting tour visiting Hamel Family WinesAbbot’s PassageBartholomew Estates and Gundlach Bundschu, all of which farm using organic and biodynamic practices. Bottles of sustainable, organic and biodynamic wines are available at Valley Bar + Bottle or Darling Wines, both located on the renowned Sonoma Plaza.

5. Madera Wine Trail

Madera County is one of the oldest wine-growing regions in the country and, today, many vintners use sustainable practices. Idle Hour Winery works with sustainably grown grapes and uses natural yeasts and gravity flow in its winemaking process. Last year, Quady Winery became a Certified Sustainable Winery, and San Joaquin Winery’s founder advocates for sustainable practices with the California Association of Wine Growers.

6. Certified SIPs in SLO

Sustainability abounds right outside San Luis Obispo. California’s newest AVA, the SLO Coast AVA, has many wineries designated SIP (Sustainability in Practice) Certified using independent third-party verification. Visitors can easily taste five of these wineries just outside of town. With views of the Edna ValleyWolff Vineyards is a sustainable stunner. At Tolosa Winery, there’s the stainless-steel Chardonnay. Chamisal Vineyards is the second-ever SIP-certified winery, and Claiborne and Churchill Winery are hidden gems tucked into a hillside.

7. Urban Winery

Centralas is an ecologically focused winery in the heart of Los Angeles. The owners make all their decisions with the goal of protecting and benefiting the environment, working with local farmers to make their wines. Most of its wines are certified organic or biodynamic and dry-farmed. The winery is leading the trend to list all ingredients in the wine on its labels for total transparency, and bottle using glass that is 30-50% lighter than average for a reduced carbon footprint.

8. Naturally Palm Springs

A shop called hyphen- in Palm Springs is dedicated to connecting wine lovers to the world of natural wines and the top winemakers crafting these sustainable sippers. There are unique and affordable wines like the Zurlie Rosé Pet-Nat or the Terres De Roa Lunaire 2018.

9. Eco-Friendly in Temecula

Temecula Valley has crafted wine for 50+ years, and its vintner community is taking steps to ensure that the local wineries embrace sustainable practices. Robert Renzoni Vineyards is the only 100% solar-powered winery in Southern California and the vineyards use only organic materials. Foot Path Winery is the valley’s vegan winery making unfiltered and unadulterated wine with organic grapes. Vindemia Winery uses sustainable growing methods without pesticides, and Lorenzi Estates prunes its vines to reduce the need for water.

10 Quigley Fine Wines

Quigley Fine Wines in San Diego directly imports the wine they sell. For each bottle, they share the story of how the wine was made, how the grapes were raised and the family and winemaker behind the label. An in-store tasting room acquaints wine connoisseurs with the small producers the shop highlights.

Quick note: every September since 2004, California Wine Month has rolled out as a state-wide affair that coincides with the grape harvest.

The calendar for California Wine Month is full of special tastings, festivals, concerts, tours and wine-paired meals with top chefs and vintners. There’s everything from grape treading, to formal balls. Go to to learn more.

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