Established in 2017 by a group of farmers, business leaders, and experts in soil health, animal welfare and social fairness—including Dr. Bronner’s, Patagonia and the Rodale Institute—the nonprofit Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA) aims to repair a damaged planet and empower farmers and eaters to create a better future through adoption of regenerative organic farming.
“ROC was created because regenerative organic agriculture has the potential to address many of today’s pressing problems, including the climate crisis, factory farming, and fractured rural economies,” said Elizabeth Whitlow, executive director of the ROA. “If we adopt regenerative organic practices on more farms, we’ll see improvements to soil health, the well-being of animals, farmers, workers, and the climate itself. I applaud Fetzer Vineyards’ achievement of ROC Silver, which is challenging for any farm and especially so given the size and scale of Fetzer Vineyards’ farming and winery operation,” she concluded.
With USDA Organic certification as a baseline, ROC recognizes the strong work already conducted by existing certification bodies and leverages this important work as part of the journey to Regenerative Organic Certification. Certification requires submission of a Regenerative Organic System Plan, an initial audit, ongoing annual audits and continued improvement.
“ROC aligns with and builds upon our existing approaches to soil health and worker fairness, and connects to and supports all 17 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—making this a truly comprehensive, rigorous and globally relevant standard,” notes Jess Baum, director of regenerative development and sustainability at Fetzer Vineyards. “Also vitally important is the ROA’s goal to protect the term ‘regenerative’ from greenwashing, which is essential if we are to be able to grow adoption of regenerative organic to address the climate crisis, and worker and community equity issues that are systemic in our food landscape. Simply put, the wellbeing of people, planet and communities is what’s at stake.”
Fetzer Vineyards first began farming organically in 1987, and in 2000 began farming according to Demeter US-certified Biodynamic® practices on select ranches. In 2020, the winery declared a climate emergency and committed to becoming climate positive in its operations by 2030. ROC certification across the winery and estate vineyards elevates these commitments and symbolizes the next chapter for the pacesetting vintner, committed to climate-smart practices that build resiliency both within and beyond winery’s doors.
“We need to diminish, if not entirely eliminate, the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers that raise our GHG emissions, harm our biodiversity, contaminate our air and waters, and damage our communities,” notes Joseph Brinkley, director of regenerative farming for Fetzer Vineyards, whose role includes advocating for healthy soils legislation and advancing the company’s position on climate policy generally. “The science supports the abundant connections between soil health and carbon storage, climate resiliency and healthy food systems—and regenerative organic farming is at the heart of this. At Fetzer Vineyards, we plan to continue building on what we’re doing at home, in our supply chain, and at the advocacy table to help advance a positive future for climate-smart agriculture, as we continue to drive scalable solutions to the climate crisis.”
To learn more about Fetzer Vineyards’ impact work, visit fetzervineyards.com/impact and follow @FetzerVineyards on LinkedIn for relevant updates.
ABOUT FETZER VINEYARDS
Fetzer Vineyards is an award-winning purveyor of multi-origin wines and spirits, selling in over 50 countries worldwide. Founded by Barney Fetzer in Mendocino County, CA, in 1968, and part of global powerhouse Viña Concha y Toro, Fetzer Vineyards today remains driven by excellence, innovation and longstanding commitments to the environment and responsible business practices. With a focus on crafting wines made from sustainable, organic and Biodynamic® grapes, Fetzer Vineyards is a leading U.S. marketer of wines, the nation’s primary importer of South American wines, and the United States’ largest Certified B Corporation winery—a testament to the company’s dedication to the transformational goals of regenerative business.
In addition to its flagship Fetzer label, the Fetzer Vineyards portfolio features Bonterra Organic Vineyards, the 2016 Wine Enthusiast American Winery of the Year; 1000 Stories, California’s original Bourbon barrel-aged wine; Casillero del Diablo, the #1 Chilean wine brand (750ml) in the U.S.; and Trivento Reserve, the #3 selling Malbec in the U.S. The Origins Collection—an esteemed portfolio of super-premium to super-luxury offerings centered on terroir-driven wines from Chile, Argentinaand the U.S.—showcases South American icons Don Melchor and Trivento Eolo Malbec, alongside Bonterra’s single-vineyard, biodynamically farmed wines and the award-winning craft whiskies of Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. Learn more at: www.fetzervineyards.com