Monday, August 7, 2017

The Daily Meal's Top 100 Wineries: 20% Source Wines from Certified Organic Vineyards



For the third year in a row, organic vineyards have played a major role in The Daily Meal's list of the Top 100 Wineries in America, an annual compilation put together by insider foodies and chefs.

Twenty  - or 20% - of the wineries source grapes from organic vines.

To put this in context, even in Napa, our leading fine wine region, certified organic vineyards amount to 8% of the vines. Statewide, California has only 2.5% organic vines. Therefore organic vines are overrepresented on this list by a factor of roughly 10x.

This year's list was geographically more inclusive than previous years, but the same two wineries - Ridge and Tablas Creek - placed first and second respectively. In previous years, these have held the top two positions.

Other winners on the list with certified organic vineyards include the following. However, not all the wines these wineries produce come from their organic vines, so it's good to check with the winery on what wine is sourced organically. Wineries with 100% organic estates are starred *.

1. Ridge Vineyards (East Bench Zin, Geyserville, and, starting with the 2016 vintage, Monte Bello)
2. Tablas Creek (all except Patelin)
12. Calera (estate wines only)
15. Robert Sinskey Vineyards*
20. Heitz Cellars
23. Turley
24. Bonny Doon (future wines from Popeloucham)
25. Qupe (Sawyer Lindquist vineyard only)
30. Chanin
36. Spottswoode (estate Cabernet Sauvignon only)
49. Beckmen (Ballard Canyon estate only)
61. Eyrie (estate wines only)
66. Staglin
70. Bokisch (estate wines only)
92. Brooks Winery (estate wines only)

Honorary Mention on the Organic List
27. Matthiasson (in transition)
41. Tensley (some single vineyard wines)
52. Jaffurs (single vineyard designates from Ampelos and Turner)
77. Ceritas (Porter Bass vineyard designates)
79. Dragonette (Duvarita vineyard designates)

None of these wines are classified USDA Organic Wine, but all meet the standard for "Ingredients: Organic Grapes" and above.

Only a few of the wineries above label any bottles with those words. Exceptions include:

Ridge Vineyards: "Ingredients: Organic Grapes"
Robert Sinskey Vineyards: "Ingredients: Organic Grapes"
Qupe ("Biodynamic Wine")
Brooks ("Made with Biodynamic Grapes")

There are so many wineries that didn't make this list that it sometimes makes me crazy - Beaux Freres and Brick House in Oregon come to mind immediately - but oh well. Maybe one day I will pick my own version of the top 100 wineries and post it.