What It Costs to Be Certified Organic

Wines & Vines


In the December 2015 issue of Wines & Vines magazine, Pam Strayer writes about the costs of being certified organic or biodynamic. Here is an excerpt from the article addressing Ridge’s approach to organic farming:

David Gates, vice president of vineyard operations at Ridge Vineyards based in Cupertino, Calif., began going through the certification process in 2008. Ridge has gradually certified 300 acres of estate vineyards, making it one of the largest organic vineyard owners in Sonoma County and Santa Clara counties.


David S. Gates, Jr., VP of Vineyard Operations

An ingredient labeling pioneer, Ridge released its first vintage with organic labeling in 2015: the 2013 East Bench Zinfandel, which boasts the words “Ingredients: Organic Grapes” on the back of the bottle.

Gates said Ridge decided to certify its vineyards for philosophical reasons, to adhere to better farming practices, and because the winery thinks “organic” has clearer messaging and commands more respect in the marketplace than “sustainable.”

“We wanted to get away from the systemics and herbicides. And there are more and more people who want to know how your grapes are grown. With sustainability, you can’t give a three-sentence explanation of what sustainability is that means anything.

“People trust when you say you’ re organic. At the beginning, we started to grow organically, but we were not certified. I did not want to be like those wineries that say they’re organic, but they’re not certified. I decided if we were going to do this, I wanted us to be certified.”

To read the full article at Wines & Vines, click here.


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