Annual CCOF Inspection

October 13, 2011

 

 

Here at Amapola Creek, all of our estate vineyards are certified as organic. This means that we are very limited in what we are allowed to apply to our vines; no pesticides or artificial fertilizers. In turn, we need to do our farming differently from the start, planning to manage the soil, vines, and surrounding grounds in such a way that pests and diseases are suppressed naturally, and that soil quality is retained in a sustainable manner.

To prove that our practices are effective, we have our operations audited by an organization known as the CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers). The CCOF sets the rules as to what practices and materials we are allowed to use in our vineyards, and how we should record what we do so as to prove that we are compliant.

This is the CCOF logo, and legally it can only go on products that have been certified by the CCOF as organic. All of our estate vineyards have been organic since they were planted, and the Belli Chardonnay was certified as organic in 2011. The only grapes that we currently process that are not from certified organic vines are the Monte Rosso Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. These grapes are still farmed in accordance with the rules of organic farming, but the owner of the grapes has chosen not to go through the certification process.

The winery itself is also certified by the CCOF as a ‘Certified Organic Handler’ (we got our certification in 2008, so even our estate products, made from organic grapes, from earlier vintages do not bear the CCOF logo). This means that we do not use any synthetic materials in our winemaking practices; no artificial nutrients, no genetically modified yeast (or even yeast grown on synthetic substrates), and no artificial additives or processing agents of any kind. This limits our options in winemaking to some extent, a number of remediation techniques that non-certified wineries can use are not available to us. So, we need to be careful to do things right the first time around, ensuring that every step is correct and the quality of the product is maintained throughout the process.

Once a year, an auditor comes from the CCOF and inspects our vineyards, winery and records to make sure that we are doing what we need to. Our inspection was this week.

The inspection and paperwork process is fairly extensive (unfortunately it fell during harvest this year), this is one of the reasons we haven't been posting as frequently here on the blog the last two days.

It’s a lot of extra work to maintain our certification, but we believe that it is worth it to be able to prove the quality of our product and the strength of our devotion to organic farming to our customers.

To visit the Amapola Creek Winery main site, please click here.

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