Thursday, December 20, 2018

"California Organic" Program Stars Bonterra in New Amazon Prime Food and Wine Series

The Press Release

Wine Enthusiast Media is pleased to announce the launch of It Starts With Wine, an original series premiering on Amazon Prime Video January 4th, 2019.

The episodic series travels the globe and follows the world's best winemakers, growers, producers and personalities, along with prominent chefs and celebrities, to offer viewers an inside look at the people, locations, cuisines and cultures that surround the wine lifestyle and the world's finest wines and spirits.

The first episode in the groundbreaking cinematic series features famed chef and restaurateur Francis Mallmann, with acclaimed "flying winemaker" Alberto Antonini, set against the beautiful backdrop of Uruguay and one of the country's premier wineries, Bodega Garzon.

"We felt that the best way to convey these stories was in episodic fashion," says Jay Spaleta, Executive Producer and Wine Enthusiast SVP. "Wine Enthusiast has long been an innovator in wine information, reviews and content, this is the next bold step in that content leadership."
"It Starts With Wine is a docuseries that tells a personal story and shares deep insights in a way that is very approachable, engaging and revealing," continues Spaleta.

Wine Enthusiast Media will be simultaneously releasing episodes I, II and III for viewers binge-watching pleasure. The series will be available on Amazon Prime Video in North America and Vimeo's On Demand premium video service globally.

Episode II of It Starts With Wine follows doctor / vintner Laura Catena and musician / chef Deborah De Corral on a visit to Bodega Catena Zapata, the renowned Argentine Winery. Founded in 1902, Catena is known for bringing traditional European winemaking methods to South America.

Episode III travels to California to look at biodynamic viticulture with Joseph Brinkley, vineyard director at Bonterra Organic Vineyards and explores the simplicity of elemental food with chef Garrett Sathre.

About Wine Enthusiast:

Wine Enthusiast Media creates innovative long and short-format content in the wine, spirits, travel and lifestyle categories. Wine Enthusiast Media is the production division of Wine Enthusiast Companies founded in 1979, and publisher of Wine Enthusiast magazine.

For more info visit:

For media inquiries, image, footage and interview requests:
John Van Dekker

SOURCE Wine Enthusiast Media

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

St. Stephen Organic Vineyards Wins CORFO Regional Program of Support for Entrepreneurship for Marketing Innovation

Chilean Organic Producer Entering U.S. Market

Press Release

SAN JOSÉ, Calif., Dec. 18, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- St. Stephen Vineyards, LLC (SSV) today announced the company was named winner of the Chilean government's 2018 CORFO Regional Program of Support for Entrepreneurship (PRAE) for marketing innovation.

CORFO is a Chilean government agency, part of the Ministry of Economy, dedicated to the promotion of innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology. The objective of the CORFO PRAE competition is to support entrepreneurs with high growth potential and international scope. The competition is open to startups, and winners are evaluated on innovation in technology and in marketing. The prize awarded for the 2018 competition was 25 million Chilean pesos, about $42,000 US dollars.
St. Stephen Organic Vineyards submitted a detailed project outlining work to investigate, identify, and test both conventional and alternative marketing channels for small and medium sized Chilean vineyards to enter the US Market.
Tim Edwards, St. Stephens Organic Vineyards
"This honor validates our work to define and test alternative distribution channels in the United States for organic wine and is a first step to opening the door to roughly 80% of Chile's vineyards who are currently shut out of the US market," said St. Stephen Organic Vineyards President, Tim Edwards. "Chile makes among the highest quality wines in the world, and the Colchagua Valley was named 'World's Best Wine Region' by Wine Enthusiast magazine. We are a caused-based marketing organization, dedicated to improving our environment. We are really grateful for CORFO's generous support of our efforts."
Emiliano Orueta Bustos, Regional Director of CORFO in the O'Higgins Region of Chile commented: "For CORFO, this project is very interesting, and was chosen because it presents an innovative business model which increases the visibility of our wine industry in the important US market."
St. Stephen Organic Vineyards became available in the US in September 2018 and can be purchased online at and from selected fine wine dealers.
St. Stephen Vineyards, LLC is based in San José, CA and imports and distributes St. Stephen wine in the United States. Viña St. Stephen, Ltda. is based in San José de los Lingues Chile with certified organic vineyards located in the Colchagua Valley of Chile. A "cause marketing" organization, St. Stephen donates a significant portion of the profits for each bottle sold to helping environmental causes in the United States and Chile. For more information about St. Stephen, visit the company's website at for product and company updates, or follow us on Facebook at

Saturday, December 15, 2018

"Resilience is Fertile" - EcoFarm Conference Set for January 23-26

More than 70 workshops are scheduled for the annual EcoFarm conference for current and aspiring organic farmers, which includes viticulture and soil topics.  Sessions that include speakers from the wine industry or related fields include:

• Innovations in Biological Control 

Pam Marrone at Organic Grower Summit  
Biopesticide entrepreneur Pam Marrone of Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. and Michael Gilbert from Semios will provide an overview of emerging solutions in biopesticide and biostimulant inputs. Marrone famously introduced Regalia, a widely used biofungicide used against powdery mildew.  

• Cover Cropping for Beneficial Insects    

Houston Wilson  
U.C. postdoc researcher Houston Wilson worked on the groundbreaking project to improve biological control of the Virginia Creeper leafhopper, which affected organic vineyards in the North Coast. (Mendocino and Lake County's U.C. Farm Advisor Glenn McGourty was also a leader in this project.)  Wilson and Jessa Kay Cruz will be speaking about cover crops and beneficials.  

• Grazing Sheep in Perennial Crop Systems (including vineyards)   

Kelly Mullville of Paicines Ranch and Nathan Stuart of Tablas Creek Vineyards in Paso Robles will be will be featured in this session on how to succeed in integrating sheep year-round on winery properties.  

• Wise Words from Well-Seasoned Farmers    

Lou Preston
Winery owner Lou Preston of Preston Farm & Winery in Healdsburg (Sonoma County) will lead a session with Mimi Luebbermann, sheep farmer. Preston has an integrated and biodiverse farm and winery, growing wine grapes (and making wine), sheep, pigs, chickens, and more than 200 crops.  

See the full schedule here.

NOTE: Organic Wine News Briefs is a news feed brought to you by Organic Wine Insider. Check out our unique and original coverage of the organic wine sector and subscribe to our premium content news and features at

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Gérard Bertrand Group buys Domaine de Ceyleran, Former Home of Toulouse Latrec; Plans to Make it an Organic and Biodynamic Showcase

In Occitania, the regional council has approved the sale of Domaine de Celeyran near Narbonne to the Gerard Bertrand Group. The aging chateau was the former home of the French artist Toulouse Lautrec.

The property has 187 acres of vineyards, which the regional council has allowed growers to use through 2019.

The Gerard Bertrand Group is said to have paid $2.7 million for a 75 year lease for the historic landmark estate. The group says it will invest $13.5 million in restoring the chateau and additional funds to improve the vineyards. The estate was classified as a historic building in 1952. 

Carole Delga, regional council head, explained that the group will revitalize the landmark as, 
.... a unique venue focusing on an innovative project, the desire to breathe new life into the estate...This will pave the way for the implementation of an unprecedented project revolving around French organic and biodynamic farming." 
The project includes major investments on the farming side of the chateau, but also on the chateau itself, which will be completely refurbished, entailing a total investment of €12 million by the Gérard Bertrand Group.  

This follows on the heels of Bertrand's recent purchase of Mas du Soleilla, which has 54 acres of certified organic vineyards next to Bertrand's Chateau l'Hospitalet in La Clape. This adds to Bertrand's 197 acre estate vineyard on the property which contains a hotel and a nature preserve for hiking.

Peter Wildbolz and Christa Derungs, both from Switzerland, established Mas du Soleilla in 2002; the vines are certified organic.

Bertrand is one of the biggest organic producers in France and is in transition to becoming the largest Biodynamic vineyard owner in the world, with more than 1,200 acres certified or in transition to certification.

NOTE: Organic Wine News Briefs is a news feed brought to you by Organic Wine Insider. Check out our unique and original coverage of the organic wine sector and subscribe to our premium content news and features at

Monday, December 10, 2018

Organic AND Sustainable: Zero Waste Pioneer Fetzer (and Bonterra) Win California's Highest Green Award

The California EPA and the California Governor Jerry Brown have awarded Fetzer Vineyards with the state's highest environmental honor, a Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award ("GEELA"), presented at a Sacramento awards ceremony December 5th.

Fetzer is the parent company of Bonterra, the country's most popular organically grown wine brand in the U.S.

According to the California EPA:
 "In 2017, Fetzer Vineyards diverted more than 3,000 tons of waste from landfill or incineration to achieve a 98.34 percent diversion rate through recycling, reusing and composting used materials.  
This was accomplished through waste programs that streamlined the collection of recyclable items during production. 
Fetzer Vineyards also composts all pomace left over from the winemaking process and later reintroduces these materials into their vineyards as nutrient-rich compost.
Fetzer Vineyards is recognized for their ability to reduce material consumption, mitigate negative impacts of solid waste, and create economic benefits for their business and the broader economy."
According to Fetzer's press release, "Fetzer Vineyards began tracking and reporting waste in 1990 and became the world's first winery to achieve TRUE Zero Waste certification in 2014, with a diversion rate of over 98%. "

This is the third time Fetzer Vineyards has won a GEELA awards. (The other years were 2003 and 2008.)

"We are very pleased to receive this recognition," said Cindy DeVries, chief operating officer for Fetzer Vineyards, "as it underscores the importance of a focus on waste reduction as critical to our efforts to pursue climate-smart practices in our business."

Bio Filtro BIDA System at Fetzer Vineyards in Hopland

One component of Fetzer's recycling is its Bio Filtro BIDA water recycling system which uses worm composting to clean water to meet EPA standards. Fetzer was the first U.S. winery to adopt this technology installing it in 2016 The system processes 15 million gallons of water. The process also produces a byproduct: 573 cubic meters (20,000+ cubic feet) of worm castings, a valuable vineyard nutrient.

So far, one other organic vintner, Frey Vineyards in Redwood Valley, has also ordered a BioFiltro system. The largest ag sector in California using BioFiltro is the dairy industry.

Said CalEPA Secretary Matthew Rodriquez. "From fighting climate change to reducing waste, [Fetzer's] successful efforts are proving that environmentally sustainable practices can grow and support a healthy economy."

The effects of climate change are hitting many wineries around the world, including in Mendocino which is home to Bonterra and Fetzer's winery in Hopland. The area is close to the epicenter of the Redwood Complex Fire, which began in Potter and Redwood Valleys northeast of Ukiah and decimated the nearby Frey Vineyard. It also killed 9 local residents. 

The annual Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award is administered on behalf of the Governor's Office by the California Environmental Protection Agency, in partnership the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the California State Transportation Agency, the California Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency, the California Government Operations Agency, the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, and the California Health and Human Services Agency.

Fetzer is also the first winery in the world to be TRUE certified, according to Stephanie Barger, director of market transformation and development, for TRUE at the U.S. Green Building Council. "They have demonstrated leadership in minimizing waste output and efficiently using resources, furthering our goal of developing a zero waste economy for all," she said.

Bonterra is the largest wine brand in the organic sector, making more than 500,000 cases of organically grown wine each year. (Fetzer makes 4 million). Bonterra's wines account for 25% of organically grown wine sales in the U.S.

NOTE: Organic Wine News Briefs is a news feed brought to you by Organic Wine Insider. Check out our unique and original coverage of the organic wine sector and subscribe to our premium content news and features at

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

His and Her Old-Timey Stores: Boisset Buys Oakville Grocery (His Wife Gina Gallo Owns Dry Creek Valley Store)

Oakville Grocery was on the verge of bankruptcy when the late Leslie Rudd
stepped in 2007 to restore it
Boisset Collection today announced its purchase of Oakville Grocery.

Founded in 1881, Oakville Grocery is the oldest continually operating grocery store in California and has been a destination for nearly 140 years.

The purchase includes the Oakville store and property, the Healdsburg location and the brand from the Rudd family, proprietors of Rudd Estate and PRESS Restaurant, who completed significant restoration of the Oakville property, grocery store, and adjacent Victorian house during eleven years of ownership.

The store and its brand join Boisset’s portfolio of historical wineries and retail destinations.

“I have always adored the Oakville Grocery for what it represents for Napa Valley, for California and for America,” says Jean-Charles Boisset, Proprietor of Boisset Collection.

“It is a landmark and iconic destination at the crossroads of history in Napa that has been the community gathering place, mercantile, farm stand, and grocery for neighbors and visitors alike for well over a century."

"The Rudd family have been remarkable stewards, believing in its past and future, and infusing the property with the passion, care and respect it deserves. We are exceptionally honored to be entrusted to carry forward this timeless property and continue their dreams.”

Boisset plans to offer a selection of fresh and local products from farmers, artisans, and purveyors in Napa and Sonoma, with local, sustainable, and organic food.

“Oakville Grocery has been a staple of Napa Valley since 1881,” says Samantha Rudd, proprietor of Rudd Estate and PRESS Restaurant.

The store has been a popular upscale market for tourists for the last decade
“My family purchased it in 2007 in order to revive the illustrious historical store that has meant so much to this community. My father’s vision was to restore it to its rightful place in California wine country, and to ensure that its legacy remained for the local and tourist community for decades to come.”

Oakville Grocery joins Boisset Collection’s historical wineries and destinations in California and France, including Buena Vista Winery, founded in 1857 as the first premium winery in California. Boisset’s portfolio is anchored in history, heritage and terroir in Napa, Sonoma, Burgundy, Jura, Beaujolais, the Rhône Valley and the South of France.

Boisset’s Atelier Fine Foods in Yountville, opened in 2016, was the company’s first foray into gourmet food and will continue its mission and focus on a curated selection of high-quality gourmet products.

Said Rudd, "We are confident that Jean-Charles will protect and enhance the Oakville Grocery brand, property, and business for future generations of customers. Our trust in Boisset’s vision was an essential consideration as we selected the right steward for Oakville Grocery’s future, from one family to another and from one steward to the next.”

Boisset has long championed certified sustainable, organic and Biodynamic® practices at its DeLoach and Raymond Vineyards wineries in Napa and Sonoma County.

“With Oakville Grocery, the gathering place of Napa and Sonoma, we as well are responsible vis-à-vis the community, the local vintners, growers and gardeners, the prior owners, and our guests and employees to protect its past and enhance its future.

Boisset will begin operating Oakville Grocery in early 2019.

Boisset is married to Gina Gallo, who owns the iconic, historic Dry Creek General Store in Sonoma County.

NOTE: Organic Wine News Briefs is a news feed brought to you by Organic Wine Insider. Check out our unique and original coverage of the organic wine sector and subscribe to our premium content news and features at