No, I’m not yet certified organic, although I have been farming that way since the beginning in 2009. A few days ago I started the process to become a California Certified Organic Farmers” (CCOF) Vineyard. In Sonoma County only 3% of the approximately 1800 vineyards are organic. Why? Two reasons…due to the large change in temperature every 24 hours (which makes for great Pinot noir) we get a lot of Powdery Mildew, and second is the need by many farmers to use round-up to control the grass under the vines. We feel we can handle both organically and we don’t want to have pesticides in our workplace. I worked in environmental management for many years with IBM and it is better to keep the toxics away as much as possible
What is needed? – Farm organically for 3 years,keep good records and have an organic system plan, which includes:
– California State ID
– Seed and Planting Stock Record
– Organic Farm Input Record
– Equipment Cleaning Log
– Harvest Record
– Activity Log
– Land Use History Affidavit
– County Pesticide Use Report
– Complaints Log
– Neighbor Notification and Drift Prevention Letter
It will take me about 3 weeks to get the documents ready for submission. In addition, the first year will cost around $750 and each year after between $250-$500. Oh, and I get to be audited each year, what fun.
I’ll update you when I’m successful in about 3 months!