Friday, April 6, 2012

Bonny Doon: The Definitive Organic Versus Not Organic List?

Last weekend marked my first trip to Bonny Doon, the mothership of Santa Cruz wineries. I wanted to get to the bottom of what has been a difficult quest - to understand exactly which wines were sourced from organic grapes (because, despite its green-friendly image, many of its wines are not).

I have repeatedly called and emailed the winery for answers, but haven't gotten any responses. Since I was traveling in the area with friends, I decided an in person trip to the tasting room might be the best approach to getting answers. At least the bottles might have certification seals.

After a long and complicated Q and A process with tasting room staff, the "final" tally of organically grown wines (100% certified grapes), as best as can be determined by tasting room staff, is as follows:

• Albarino Ca del Solo (2009 only; 2010 vintage is not)
• Grenache Blanc (2009 only)
• Le Cigare Blanc (white Rhone blend of Grenache Blanc and Roussanne) (2009)
• Muscat Ca del Solo (2009)
• Paso Robles Viognier (sourced from Chequera)
• Vinho Grinho Ca del Solo

Dolcetto Ca del Solo (current release - 2007)
• Nebbiolo Ca del Solo (current release - 2007)
• Syrah from Bien Nacido X Block (all)

• Vinferno (dessert wine from Grenache Blanc and Roussanne) (2008)
• Le Vol des Anges (dessert wine from Roussanne) (2007)

In transition to Biodynamic:
• Imagine (a Freisa/Sangiovese cuvee)

In the future
Look for Alamo Creek sourced Syrah.

So less than half of Bonny Doon's output is organic/biodynamic - most is not.

What is not (100%) organically sourced: Cigare wines (including the Vin Gris rose), Grenache, Carignane, Vino Rosso, Contra, Rose, Moscato, Riesling, Mon Doux Mourvedre, Viognier Port, Cuvee ET and more.

This one is sourced from Biodynamic grapes and has a Demeter seal on the front label

This one still has the water crystal image but is not sourced from Biodynamic grapes and does not have the Demeter seal on the label
Of note: the Albarino that is NOT biodynamic still carries the crystal on the cover, which is a symbolic analysis typically associated with biodynamics. There is a danger in using this kind of imagery for this meaning, when, in fact, not all the grapes inside are biodynamic. It might be good for Bonny Doon to think this through. I, for one, am tired of seeing biodynamic imagery extended to non-biodynamic wines (Paul Dolan uses more overt biodynamic symbols as branding - three cowhorns - when in fact the wines they apply the symbols to are not biodynamic versus Cowhorn Winery - a brand where every wine is always biodynamic).

We need that clear labeling of "Made from Organic (or Biodynamic) Grapes" on the front of every bottle to be mandatory so it's simple for everyone. For now, check the seals!

1 comment:

  1. Bonny Doon's spin off winery making Riesling up in Washington, Pacific Rim, belongs in the some of our vineyards and wines are organic/biodynamic wine club. Since Randall Grahm started them out as one of his many Bonny Doon labels, he could be credited for that too.