Sustainable Wineries

The main purpose of my visit to the Santa Ynez Valley was my interest in wine. I explored a few local sustainable vineyards and wineries and learned a great deal about this wine country. Simultaneously, I discovered that this region has so much more to offer than just the grape.

More and more people are attuned to the fact that pesticides and chemical fertilizers are harmful to the environment, public health, and their own bodies. This holds true for agriculture in general and for viticulture specifically. Grapes are one of the crops that receive the highest amount of pesticides and wine grapes specifically are sprayed even more than table grapes. However, an organic wine is a wine made from grapes that have been grown without the use of artificial chemicals and to keep the weeds and bugs at bay, farmers work with nature, rather than against it, by boosting their vineyard’s biodiversity.

The Santa Ynez Valley, located about 35 miles north of Santa Barbara and 125 miles north of Los Angeles with exceptional wine tasting rooms.

Stolpman Vineyard and Tasting Room

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The Stolpman Vineyards are hidden in the hills of Ballard Canyon on a rare Limestone soil. This exclusive land is naturally suited to grow Syrah and Roussanne grapes. Founder, Tom Stolpman is committed to preserving this natural environment for their vines through organic and dry farming.
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The secret of Ballard Canyon is the Syrah. I am a big fan of Syrah and these are wines to be savored and enjoyed with good food and friends. Pictured below is their Para Maria, made in conjunction with vineyard manager Ruben Solorzano.

 

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Years of careful growth has allowed Stolpman Vineyards to bottle wines from approximately 90% of the 152 acres under vine. Ruben Solorzano joined the Stolpman team to increase the quality of the fruit going to the winery, including experimentation with dry-farming & high density plantings. It is through this extensive experimentation with many varietals, that the team has perfected its offerings of Syrah, Roussanne, Sangiovese and Sauvignon Blanc.

Carhartt Tasting Room

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The Carhartt Tasting Room is located the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. Carhartt’s tasting room, known as the “World’s smallest tasting room”, has a quaint backyard complete with an intimate and charming atmosphere which definitely stands out among the competition in downtown Los Olivos.
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Founded in 1996 by Mike Carharrt and Brooke Carhartt, the couple has been applying sustainable and organic farming since 2007. Solar panels were installed a top the barn (photo below) which houses this winery, making is completely powered by the sun. This is a family owned and operated vineyard and winery whose organic story is “founded on making wine from ground to glass”. What sets this vineyard apart from the rest is they do all the farming themselves, thus developing an intimate relationship with each vine. For the Carhartt’s wine is a reflection of nature and doing what nature does. They let the vineyard, varietal, and vintage do the speaking.
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The estate produces Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir grape varietals—all planted on 58 acres of vineyards. Carhartt is direct to consumer and their wines can be purchased in their tasting room, on their website at www.carharttvineyard.com, and through their Wine Club, which long story short I became a member.

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We are not asking anyone to become an environmental activist. By simply switching your wine buying habits from conventional wines to organic wines, you can make the world a little less toxic while enjoying high quality wines without spending any more than you do already. Talk about win/win!

 

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