Reign of Terroir: Wineries Get Down and Dirty


Beyond their pretty tasting rooms, these wineries get down and dirty with biodynamic farming, biodiesel trucks and structures that soak up the sun to power the presses.

Quivira’s yellow clapboard tasting barn could pass as a holdover from 100 years ago if it weren’t for the glittering solar panels stretched across the roof. Visitors are welcome to explore the estate garden and get a glimpse of the biodynamic techniques that keep the vines healthy—things such as cover crops of radishes and oats, a buzzing honeybee population and a 1,500-square-foot compost pile.
4900 W. Dry Creek Rd., Healdsburg, 707-431-8333,


Designer Michael Jantzen was inspired by new light-and-wind harvesting technologies to create a tasting space that powers the winemaking process. His concept Eco-Wine Pavilion includes curved steel roof panels covered with photovoltaic film and a turbine that captures wind from any direction. Although you can’t visit his creation just yet, he hopes a green-minded winery will make his vision a reality.


As mayor, Gavin Newsom has pushed green development in San Francisco, and as co-owner—along with Gordon Getty and John Conover—of Napa Valley’s Cade, he’s helped create one of the first LEED Gold–certified wineries in the country. The tasting room is set in a modern, sustainable structure atop Howell Mountain.
360 Howell Mountain Rd. South, Angwin, 707-965-2746,


At Medlock Ames, good wine means more than high scores with critics (which they have in spades), it also means a process that is good to the earth. The winery uses only grapes from their organic, solar-powered ranch, gravity-flow techniques and natural fermenting yeasts. They are also welcoming visitors with a new tasting room designed by Will Wick and Wade Design Architects.
3487 Alexander Valley Rd., Healdsburg, 707-431-8845,


If you leave Robert Sinsky Vineyards having only tried their wines, you only experienced part of the story. In addition to flight tastings, guests can make an appointment for a farm-to-table tour. With a wine glass in hand, you walk through the organic gardens with views of sheep grazing the certified-biodynamic vineyards before taking a seat at the table for seasonal offerings from the Vineyard Kitchen—paired with more wine, of course.
6320 Silverado Trail, Napa, 707-944-9090,


While you sip Boisset’s aromatic Pinot Noir inside the new Nicole Hollis–designed Taste of Terroir tasting room in Healdsburg, don’t let the glittering chandelier fool you. The Boisett family has their hands in the dirt, converting all their vineyards—located in France, Canada, Italy and California—into certified-organic operations, including De Loach in Sonoma, which adheres to strict biodynamic practices.
320 Center St., Healdsburg, 707-473-9707,

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