It used to be the postcard view of the Sonoma Valley: rows of trellised vines flowing over the landscape, the manicured and weed-free earth between them.“We don’t want that,” said vineyard manager David Cook. “We’re OK with weeds.” The fourth-generation farmer – and current Sonoma City Council member – is trying to wean his clients off using RoundUp, the weed-killer coming under increasing scrutiny because of health concerns.“We want to have the ladybugs, we want to have the spiders, the rattlesnakes – we want those in the vineyard, this is all good stuff to have,” said Cook. “And part of the balance is not nuking everything.”A spate of recent media reports on the prevalence of glyphosate – the active ingredient in the weed-killer RoundUp, and one associated with increased cancer risk – is causing concern among Sonoma’s wine lovers. According to a recent headline-grabbing lab test – in which wine samples were analyzed for glyphosate levels – all 10 of the submitted wines from Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties showed positive results for the herbicide.

The use of RoundUp is widespread and has over the years become deeply engrained in the way grape growers do their business, say local grape farmers, but…

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