Wine-Sonoma County: It’s the most sustainable winegrowing region in the world, has more soil types than the whole country of France, and is where the first California grapes were planted by Franciscan monks in the 1820’s.
99% of Sonoma County vineyard acreage has been certified sustainable
Sonoma County recently announced its “Farm of the Future”, a program they say builds upon their role as a global leader in sustainable farming. Their vision is to use the “Farm of the Future” as a living lab where “Sonoma County winegrowers can pilot proof concept learning that may eventually result in game-changing solutions that can be shared with farmers across the country and around the world.” said Karissa Kruse, president and CEO of Sonoma County Winegrowers.
Sonoma County has more than 400 wineries located in six wine growing valleys, 1,800 growers, and 99% of their vineyard acreage has been certified sustainable. It is little wonder why more than 2 million visitors make their way to the rolling hills, historic towns, and rugged coastline each year to sample their favorite grapes and other culinary treasures that emerge from the soil.
What’s Good for the Soil is Good for You
More nutrients in the soil lead to higher quality crops and more nutrient-dense food on your plate
While I wouldn’t consider myself a farmer, I did learn a thing or two about farming when we had 10 aces in Northern California. We had backyard livestock: pigs, goats, and chickens, and planted a large garden where I got my hands dirty and experimented to see what I could grow (and kill) from my little plot of dirt.
Because of this experience, I’m always interested in the idea of farming in a sustainable and regenerative manner, something Sonoma County farmers and growers do intentionally.
What I remember from the lessons my farmer-neighbors taught me was that soil matters. More specifically, the quality of the soil matters. When your dirt is right, then you have fewer pests attacking your plants (which means less chemical deterrents) and more nutrients entering the crops that you will eventually harvest and eat. More nutrients in the soil lead to higher quality crops and more nutrient-dense food on your plate.
This also extends to animal protein. When animals eat high-quality, nutrient dense feed, then their meat absorbs that which, again, leads to better nutrition on your plate. Have you ever noticed that organic, grass-fed meat sources always seem to have more flavor? It’s why our chickens pecked in the garden. Partially to eat the bugs, partially to fertilize the soil, and partially to eat some of the plants, all of which contributed to the quality of eggs they blessed us with each morning.
Whenever I read about sustainable and regenerative farming, I often think of the phrase, “everything old is new again.” After all, it seems that practices like crop rotation, cover crops, and composting have been done for centuries because they proved effective; however, we may have lost touch with them in the name of progress. Now, we are returning to and refining those practices to meet our modern needs.
I love that even suburban and urban landscapes can learn from the growers, albeit on a smaller scale, like what some people are doing with urban bees. And perhaps, that will be the extended benefit of Sonoma County’s “Farm of the Future” initiative. We can all be a part of the food solution with our little plots of dirt wherever we may live.
Sonoma County Wine and Beer Events
Sonoma County Travel – There is always something fun and tasty to do in Sonoma!
May 18-21, 2023
This weekend-long celebration of the people behind the food and wine we enjoy, will bring you closer to the land from which the bounty grows.
Battle of the Brews
April 1, 2023
Enjoy all you can eat and drink with the price of your ticket. Held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds,
February 20-26, 2023
No tickets or passes required. Each restaurant will have at least one prix fixe menu to choose from.
Wine Country Distillery Festival
2023 Dates to be announced (2022 was in August)
Gather and enjoy regional craft distillers, artisan food, music, and more.
Love of the Land
July 27, 2023
This mid-summer celebration honors agricultural award winners who are leading Sonoma County’s rich farming heritage.
Get your Wine-Sonoma County Tasting Pass
While Sonoma County Wineries are making their mark, craft breweries, distilleries, and cideries hold a special place in the hearts and palates of many. When you visit Sonoma for a wine/beer/spirit taking adventure, consider buying a Tasting Pass, good for 1 day, 2 day or 90-days, depending on what works best for you: