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The goal of Sustainable agriculture is to farm Organically when possible, while retaining the ability to react to problems that might otherwise ruin a harvest. Many Sustainable producers are growing grapes in marginal climates that simply do not allow them the luxury of farming completely Organically every vintage. Other Sustainable grape growers are working towards their Organic certification but do not yet have a long enough history of Organic farming in their vineyards to qualify for Organic certification.
One of the other main reasons to be ‘sustainable’ as opposed to ‘organic’ involves certification. A vast majority of wineries on the list below have never, and will never, use any chemicals on their vineyards. “We live here, we have owned the land for generations, and we are not going to poison it,” is how Catarina Zanon of Zuani describes their farming practices. “But are we certified organic? No. We chose to not have the intervention of the government, the paperwork, and the costs involved. We simply choose to farm naturally and reasonably.” This is a mindset followed by many.
An interesting subset of the Sustainable wine movement is the Oregon Certified Sustainable Wine program. You can learn more about this amazing program though the Argyle website.