Mendocino WineGrower Inc (MWI)
c/o Price Waterman
125 East Mill St Ukiah CA 95482
Key Fact Summary
Mendocino County’s authentic “green” credentials are unsurpassed by any other wine region in the world. The region is dominated by family farmers, many of whom have lived for two or more generations on their land—some tracing their roots to the first settlers in the 1850s. The entire farming community has a rare appreciation of the connection between man and earth. These farmers, grape growers and winemakers among them, were at the forefront of the sustainable, organic, Demeter certified Biodynamic®, and Fish Friendly farming movement long before it gained the attention of the general population. “America’s Greenest Wine Region” is not a marketing slogan: it is the true reflection of all that this vast and varied county offers those who seek healthy foods and beverages and accessible yet pristine travel destinations.
Wineries & Vineyards
Mendocino County is home to 91 bonded wineries and 550 vineyard entities.
28% of Mendocino County’s winegrapes are certified organic or Biodynamic ‐‐ substantially higher than any other region in the U.S.
Fish Friendly Farming is a growing certification: FFF certified sites total 58 representing 3,522 vineyard acres and 12,497 certified acres across the county’s natural wilderness. Approximately 71% of Mendocino County land certified as Fish Friendly is in fact wildrness land -- the highest of any of the wine regions. The number of FFF certified entities today is up 260% since mid-2004. Enrollment in the process is growing – by over 60 in the last 2 1/2 years. Within the county, there’s currently a higher enrollment in this program than any other green certification.
Other noteworthy facts about certification include:
Mendocino County is home of to:
- the first organic winery in the U.S., founded in 1980, and the first producer of US biodynamic wine, 1996 (Frey Vineyards)
- solar-powered winery (McDowell Valley Vineyards). Today individual winery energy use is up to 100% solar (Philo Ridge Vineyards)
- the wine industry’s largest solar array, generating 1.1 million kilowatt hours of clean electricity annually and supplying 80% of the winery’s electricity needs (Fetzer Vineyards)
- the largest certified organic grower in the state (Fetzer vineyards)
- the largest organic wine producer in the United States (Bonterra)
- 1/3 of the total organic winegrape acreage in CA is in Mendocino County
- Mendocino County has the largest percentage of acreage of certified organic winegrapes in California and in the US
Among the 550 growers and 91 vintners mentioned above...
- 10 are Demeter certified Biodynamic®
- 21 have certified organic vineyards
- 8 have un‐certified organic vineyards
- 22 report sustainable winegrowing practices
- One winery uses 100% solar power
- One winery is the first to be certified carbon neutral
Mendocino County encompasses a total area of 2.4 million acres. Of these:
- 16,400 acres are planted to wine grapes (.68%, < 1% of total acres)
- 275.8 acres of vineyard are Demeter Certified Biodynamic® (1.71% of total winegrape acreage)
- 413.7 acres of vineyard are pending Demeter certified Biodynamic® (2.57% of total wine grape acreage)
- 3943 acres of vineyard are certified organic (24% of total wine grape acreage)
- 50,600 acres of land are certified Fish Friendly. Mendocino County is #1 in America in terms of wilderness acres FFF certified relative to vineyard land.
Top Five White Varietals by Acreage (March 2009)
- Chardonnay 4,656
- Sauvignon Blanc 822
- Gewurztraminer 231
- Viognier 110
- Chenin Blanc 98.4
Top Five Red Varietals by Acreage (March 2009)
- Cabernet Sauvignon 2,432
- Pinot Noir 2,251
- Zinfandel 2010
- Merlot 1,727
- Syrah 735
Appellations and AVAs:
An appellation is a winegrowing region with officially recognized boundaries. In the U.S., there are three classes of appellations: states, counties, and regions more specifically defined by actual growing conditions -- regions known as American Viticultural Areas (AVAs).
The Mendocino County appellation is within the larger North Coast appellation. Within Mendocino County there are ten approved and two pending AVAs.
AVA Approved Land Area Vineyards
|Approved||Total Land||Vineyard Total|
|Anderson Valley||Sept 1983||58,532 acres||2,050.5 acres|
|Cole Ranch||May 1983||187 acres||60 acres|
|Covelo||March 2006||4,563.2 acres||2 acres|
|Dos Rios||Nov 2005||15,500 acres||6 acres|
|McDowell Valley||Feb 1987||2,225 acres||540 acres|
|Mendocino AVA*||July 1984||327,430 acres||136.8 acres*|
|Mendocino Ridge**||Dec 1997||87,466 acres||75 acres|
|Potter Valley||Nov 1983||28,805 acres||1,906.2 acres|
|Redwood Valley||Feb 1997||32,046 acres||2,590 acres|
|Yorkville Highlands||June 1998||40,000 acres||401 acre|
(Vineyard acreage from 2008 Mendocino County Crop Report)
*Note: Since the following AVAs are nested within Mendocino AVA, the acreage reported is exclusive of that reported for its sub-AVAs. The nested sub-AVAs are: Anderson Valley, Cole Ranch, McDowell Valley, Potter Valley, Redwood Valley and Yorkville Highlands. Technically a small northern portion of Mendocino Ridge AVA crosses into Anderson Valley.
** Since Mendocino Ridge is technically only that land area above 1,200 feet in elevation, the actual footprint is much larger. The area reported represents the area of the non-contiguous sections, whether planted to vineyards or not.
Overall Agriculture: 19,733 acres are planted to various agricultural crops
Organic Acreage Breakdown
|Total Acreage||Organic Acreage||Percent Certified|
|Nursery and Cut Flower||64||7||4.0%|
|Total (less pasture)||19,345||3,773||20.0%|
Mendocino County is rich with rivers and encompasses three major drainage basins, also know as watershed areas: Eel, Russian and Coastal. Within these, Mendocino County has two designated research areas designed to collect baseline data and monitor the overall health of the system. Pristine Elder Creek, a tributary of the South Fork Eel, is a National Landmark stream, one of about 70 in the country, and is regularly monitored by the U.S. Geological Survey. Caspar Creek, in the Jackson State Forest, has been studied since 1960 by both the California Department of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service.
Length of Mendocino Coastline: 120 miles