4 Eco-Friendly Wineries (& 1 Brewery!) to visit in Sonoma, California
California is home to some of the most exceptional wine regions in the country. The most notable is, of course, the famed Napa Valley. However, just half an hour’s drive away is the up and coming Sonoma.
It’s long been a local’s secret, but is quickly becoming a foodie and vino destination for those in the know looking for a more authentic and laidback experience.
1. Benziger Winery
A third-generation family winery, the Benziger Winery was one of the first in the region to try their hand at biodynamic farming. Today, every wine in their portfolio is certified sustainable, organic and biodynamic by a third-party. If you have 45 minutes to spare, join their biodynamic vineyard tram tour to learn more about their unique farming techniques, get a closer look at their picturesque vineyards and friendly animals and taste a selection of their award-winning wines in The Tasting Room.
Photocredit: Benziger Winery
2. Imagery Estate
The little sibling of Benziger, Imagery Estate began in 1986 when winemaker, Joe Benziger, teamed up with artist, Bob Nugent to create a special series. The result was the perfect collision between wine and art - it proved so popular that the series took a life of its own as its own winery. While some things have changed (it’s now led by Joe’s daughter, Jamie), the commitment to biodynamic farming techniques and love of art (the estate boasts an on-site gallery) remains the same. Fun fact: all their wine labels include a likeness of the Parthenon that is featured on the Benziger bottles. If you visit the gallery, try to spot them all!
3. St. Francis Winery
Another family owned winery, St. Francis Winery has been producing exceptional wines for more than 40 years. In 2013, they were certified sustainable by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. Some of their environmental efforts include water conservation, recycling and natural resource preservation. However, it’s their packaging that makes them a standout - their bottles made from 45% recycled glass and cartons made from 55% recycled materials.
4. Marimar Estate
Stepping into Marimar Estate feels like you’re being transported to Spain - only a more sustainable version. The entire winery is run on solar power, waste is recycled and farm animals are used as pest control which means you can indulge in tapas, paella and Spanish-inspired wine guilt-free. If you’re looking to treat yourself, book their ‘Guided Tour and a Bottle from Marimar’s Cellar’. It includes a tour of the vineyard and ends with a visit to Marimar’s home and personal cellar where you can pick a wine from her library to open and enjoy with tapas by the pool.
Bonus Brewery: Seismic Brewing Co
If you’re more into ethical hops, Seismic Brewing Co is one for you. Aside from maximising water and energy efficiency, investing in R&D to create low-impact packaging and purchasing carbon offsets, they also care about their people and the local community. Everyone is paid a fair-wage and receives full healthcare benefits. Seismic Brewing Co. also have a number of local partners like the Clean River Alliance.