Saturday, May 21, 2016

Anderson Valley's Pinot Noir Festival: Sunday Open Houses - Avoid the Fungicides, Support Organic Growers

I spent Friday in Boonville, attending the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival's technical day. There I was able to preview a number of the wines from organic or Biodynamic vines that will be featured at area open houses on Sunday.

Wineries with Organically Grown Wines

1. Handley Cellars

This is among Anderson Valley's most historic and classic wineries. Run by Milla Handley, who started it in 1982, it was one of the first wineries to open in the region. It was also one of the first to have a certified organic vineyard.

Today it makes a Pinot Noir, a Chardonnay and Alsatian varieties from its own organic estate and an Orange Muscat from a Hopland vineyard that is organic. (Other wines are not from organic vines).

2. Filigreen Farm - Bink, Panthea, Yamakiri

This isn't a winery - it's a vineyard and farm - but local producers make some of my favorites, year after year, from its grapes, so I've learned to follow the flavor. This year look for single vineyard designate bottlings from Bink Wines ($55), Panthea Cellars, and Yamakiri ($27).

You'll find a huge variation between these bottling.

• Bink's tasting room is next to the Madrones

• Yamakiri doesn't have a tasting room, but the Pinot Noir may be found for sale in Anderson Valley at Boontberry Farm, the Navarro Store, and Lemons Philo Market or in Yorkville at the Yorkville Market.

3. Drew Wines

Drew also has an estate wine from organic vines.

Other Wineries: Buyer Beware

Unfortunately, a high percentage of Anderson Valley's prestigious vineyards use Flint fungicide or Pristine fungicide. Both are from the strobulin family. Flint contains trifloxyfluorin. Pristine contains pyraclostrobin as well as boscalid, a bee and bird toxin.

In 2016, a new study published in Nature Communications found links from the strobulins to autism and Alzheimer's.

To read more about this study, read the Guardian's coverage here: Agricultural Fungicides are bad news for neurons, study suggests.

For the research article, read the full paper: Identification of chemicals that mimic transcriptional changes associated with autism, brain aging and neurodegeneration.
Correlations found in the study for Pyrcloastobin, one of the active ingredients in Pristine fungicide
Correlations for  trifloxystrobin, the active ingredient in Flint fungicide

Among the wineries that use large quantities of these fungicides in 2013 (and previous years) are:

• Roederer Estate (on more than 350 acres)
• Navarro and Pennyroyal (on more than 70 acres)

Other wineries that used Flint fungicide in 2013 are Black Kite, Bradford Wiley, Byer,  Duckhorn, Ferrington, Helluva, Lazy Creek, Londer/Kendall Jackson, Mariah, Sattui, Scharfenburger, Valentine, and Wendling.

Wineries that used Pristine include Roederer, Estate Navarro and Pennyroyal, Goldeneye, Philo Ridge, and Scharfenburger.

It would be great if wineries paid attention to studies like the Nature Communications article and changed their farming practices. Until then, wine lovers might feel happier about drinking wines grown without the strobulins - wines that offer even more pleasure.

I'm not recommending these wines just because they're organically or Biodynamically grown. I like to choose from the vineyards that are being farmed without synthetic chemicals - and then select the best.

Map from California Dept. of Public Health showing pyraclostrobin used on wine grapes in Anderson Valley
Map from California Dept. of Public Health showing trifloxystrobin used on wine grapes in Anderson Valley

No comments:

Post a Comment