One of Charlie Barra’s favorite sayings used to be “I’ve been farming organically for 50 years; the first 30 I just didn’t know it!” There were no organic certification processes when Charlie first started farming and prior to World War II, growing without commercial chemicals and fertilizers was standard procedure.
All of our family owned and farmed vineyards are certified annually by CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers). Certification requires that our grapes are grown without conventional pesticides or herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation. Bell beans, red clover, peas and vetch are planted between the rows of vines, and then, just when the flowering plants are turning to either seed or starting to bear fruit, the plants are turned back into the soil where they are converted to nutrients for the vines. The soils are alive with micro-organisms that allow the vines to take up the nutrients in a more efficient manner.
The run-off from our land that goes into the Russian River is much cleaner than if pesticides and artificial fertilizers were used, and the water we collect from the watershed behind the ranch and store throughout the year is protected from chemicals leaching through the soils. Our vineyards are home to abundant wildlife that also appreciate all the benefits that come with farming organically.
Want to learn more about our organic farming and winemaking practices? Click here to read more about what makes us organic.