Pam Strayer calls out PD, SF Chron and NB Biz Journal on Sonoma wine industry greenwashing

Pam’s commentary:

Karissa fails to mention that in 2017, Sonoma’s sustainable wine grape growers used more than 74,000 pounds of glyphosate on their vines. In the meantime, cities in Sonoma and Napa have been banning glyphosate left and right. The entire county of Sonoma banned it from any county owned property as did Petaluma and Santa Rosa. In Napa, American Canyon, Yountville and the city of Napa have all banned its use on city owned property.

In addition, Sonoma’s Certified Sustainable program enforcement under the Fish Friendly Farming standard (one of the four Sonoma approved third party standards) appears to be quite lax, with Kruse’s boyfriend Steve Dutton using Mancozeb on a Fish Friendly Farming property for many years. (He stopped last year after I wrote about his use. And he publicly-in writing published on a wine industry news web site-accused me of libel for writing what the pesticide use report data said). (This claim was incorrect, as the editor of that site informed him). Mancozeb is prohibited under the Fish Friendly Farming certification program. It is highly toxic to fish.

In addition, Dutton went on to label all of his wines from those Mancozeb vines with little green Sonoma Sustainable labels. And so did all the other wineries who bought grapes from him, who wanted to use the green label. So where’s the enforcement?

Kruse says in this article that the organic people aren’t getting certified sustainable and that’s why it’s not 100 percent. Not so. There are others, like Laird Family, which owns vineyards in Sonoma, who are not taking the self assessment test. (And since when did self assessment count as certification?)

Laird is the biggest land owner in Napa with 2,200+ acres (or about 5% of the vineyards) and has never been certified sustainable in Sonoma. (Check the Sonoma Certified Sustainable honor roll in 2019 and you won’t find them under their Bayview Vineyards farming company name or under Laird Family.)

It’s time that journalists did their homework instead of uncritically just printing wine industry press releases.

74,000 pounds of glyphosate contains heavy metals, arsenic and other toxic ingredients, according to toxicology reports, which have analyzed the ingredients using mass spectrometry. (…

It’s time for Sonoma Sustainable to start counting more than media impressions and give us meaningful data.

And now Karissa want to talk climate change. Yes, let’s! The latest Bonterra study (… shows that organic farming in wine grapes sequesters 9 to 13 percent more soil organic carbon than a conventional control vineyard. Why can’t Sonoma both farm organically AND sequester carbon? Or is that too much to ask?