Recently, I was heartened to see signs reading “Sonoma County Sustainable” on the edges of some valley vineyards. I looked it up online and saw that the Group Sonoma County Winegrowers have launched a campaign to “Become the first 100% sustainable wine region in the nation” by 2019. However, upon further investigation, it seems vineyard owners participating in the program are still allowed to use Roundup (glyphosate) on their vineyards. Glyphosate is a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer. Farm communities who have studied the issue have found glyphosate in streams, the air, rainwater and soil that has not been treated with the chemical.
If you drive around Sonoma, you will notice the ground directly under rows of grapes are completely bare. This is evidence of Roundup (no other weed abatement techniques yield this perfect, bare ground result) and almost every single vineyard in the county uses it. We should all be very concerned about the related health effects of being surrounded by this dangerous chemical on a daily basis.
My biggest concern is that if left unchallenged, residents and tourists alike will all assume that the highest standards of farming practices are being employed by vineyards. They are not. I believe most people assume that “sustainable” means that you are not pouring poison into the earth.
– Janne Campbell, Sonoma