by Fred McMillin
for March 5, 1998

"Organic," the Start of Something Big


Organic grapes are grown with no pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers. The leading producer appears to be the Bonterra (good earth) brand by Fetzer. However, this year's sales will be about 75,000 cases. That's a pretty modest portion of Fetzer's multimillion case production, so why bother? Answer: The natural food industry, featuring organic products, already has sales of over 3.5 billion dollars. There is a BIG wine market waiting out there. Fetzer is planning to use ONLY organically-grown grapes for all its wines in three more years.

The Rest of the Story

If you want to suprise your friends with an exotic organic wine, try the Bonterra Viognier. Although white, it has enough pizzaz to pair nicely with a veal roast.

The Wine

1996 Bonterra Viognier (vee-oh-n'yay), North Coast. Produced by Fetzer Vineyards.
Tasting Notes—A bit more vigorous varietal flavors with less oak than a similarly-priced California Chardonnay.
Contact Persons- George Rose, (707) 744-1250, and Sid Goldstein, (415) 444-7400
Price Range—A little over $20.


The PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER correctly described Charles Mitchell's wines as "fashioned according to his palate, which obviously appreciates intense fruit flavors."


About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


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