“It’s not that easy bein’ green.”
Kermit, we agree. It’s not that easy being green, but is it worth it? Yes. It’s worth it to be an advocate for the land. It’s worth it to be an advocate for the animals that live off of that land. It’s worth it for the workers that toil away on that land. It’s worth it so that we can make wine that truly expresses the terroir. It’s worth it to the tourists who visit that land. It’s worth it for the consumers that drink the wine from that land. It’s worth it for the future of the planet.
In 2007 we started having conversations about what it meant to be a winery with estate vineyards. We don’t really own land, you can’t. You eventually leave this Earth, but the dirt remains. Yes, you might pass it along to your children, but then they have to do the same, or eventually sell it. Owning land is really just a temporary partnership with Mother Earth. She has the silent majority in decision-making, and her stake is ultimately much greater than ours. If we farm in ways that get us the largest financial gain, then Mother Earth suffers greatly. Does she ever have a say? No. She is at the whim of every human on this planet, every managing partner. I am sure she isn’t happy with most of us. We, at Hedges, take our partnership with Mother Earth very seriously. No, we aren’t perfect, but we are striving towards a partnership in which both partners can reap the rewards. Humans have to make a living on this planet but do we need to destroy the very thing that sustains us to make that happen?
After making the decision to become Demeter certified Biodynamic, it’s a long three years to pass the crucial certification test. We achieved this in 2011. Ten years on, our entire estate, including the winery and vineyards totaling 120 acres, obtained the ultimate status of CCOF Organic and Demeter Biodynamic. In 2022 we were also awarded the
Robert Parker Green Emblem, an extreme rarity granted to only 40 wineries WORLDWIDE, recognizes our commitment to sustainable farming methods and our dedication to the land. We are very proud of these achievements and even though the journey came with large struggles, and continues to do so, we haven’t looked back. Not once. We questioned what we were doing more times than not, and still, we question it every day. What facets could be done better, how can we apply more of the Biodynamic and organic philosophies to our farm, and how can we achieve more ecosystem balance, not just on the farm but also with our staff and customers? Questioning what you do every day is a powerful tool on the road to excellence.
Why bother getting certified? Accountability and transparency. Outside auditing of company, practices keeps one accountable and you have no choice but to be transparent about all you do. You, the consumer, will be 100% assured that what we say we do, we actually do.
It can be a hard decision to convert your farm from conventional to sustainable, organic, and Biodynamic, but our founders decided it was the best thing for the land and the wine and that it would become the driving mission of our business; to support Mother Earth, but also our community.
“Sustainable farming is what keeps our ecosystem surviving in the most natural way, who would not want that?! Of course, modern farming provides us with so many effective ways to manage and control unwanted problems such as weeds, insects, and diseases, so why the motivation to look at ancient methods to farm our land? The answer is simple; killing the problem at the risk of killing the natural ecosystem is not an option. Managing the problem in order to retain or improve our natural eco-system is the option. Which option are you comfortable with? In the old days, sustainable farming was the norm and it was passed from generation to generation. Our modern world is re-learning those methods and like any learning, we must rely on available guidance and written materials. Obtaining a certification is the ultimate achievement to prove that we are on the right path toward our sustainability goals. However, just like continuous learning, one cannot become certified and just forget about it. In sustainable farming, one is a lifelong student guided by the different certifying bodies and working hard to maintain that certification.” – Anne-Marie Hedges
“We all want to be sustainable. Who wouldn’t? Yet, how sustainable IS sustainable, really? The devil is in the details when it comes to certifying the day-to-day practices of maintaining a vineyard! Look for reliable, established government or private certifiers to be certain of best farming practices. CCOF, Demeter Biodynamic, and Robert Parker Green Emblem are three. In Hedges’ first year of conversion to Biodynamic farming on Red Mountain, I asked a prominent visiting British wine writer if the Biodynamic philosophy was to be taken seriously. With a very stern look, he answered, “you will hate it the first year; in year two, you will be more neutral; and in the third year, you will absolutely love it!” And so it was! – Tom Hedges