in this issue
Basic Basics
Growth of O Wines
Let's Shop
K&L O Winetasting
Quivira Dinner
Dining Out for Life
Feed the Fire!

featured links
What's New Online
Take Action
Om Organics


Tasty Bites 3.24.06
Help spread the word & pass this on!

To celebrate the end of technical difficulties today, and to celebrate our 50th Tasty Bites newsletter, let's talk about (and drink some) sustainably-produced wine! It's on the rise, and it's tasting pretty good. And just our luck, we have some wine events this week too.....

Basic Basics

organic wine = Typically means "organically grown wine". (There's no consistent regulation of this term.)

organically grown wine = Made from organically grown grapes. May or may not have minute amounts of chemical additives and/or sulphur as preservative.

organically produced wine = Made from organically grown grapes, and are processed without the use of any chemicals or synthetics.

biodynamic wine = A more holistic, philosophical approach that is often "beyond organic", where each vineyard is considered a self-sustaining eco-system. (More below.)

Growth of Organic, Sustainable Wine

Previously, chemicals were widely used to kill weeds and bugs, where vineyards looked so neat and tidy. It didn't take long, however, before growers realized the pesticides were also wiping out the vegetation that nourishes the soil and prevents it from eroding. The toxic run-off also ends up in the nearby rivers and groundwater, harming the surrounding land, wildlife, and growers!

Whether they are marketing themselves as doing so or not, an increasing number of wineries (especially in California) are quietly and voluntarily adopting more sustainable methods. Some made the conscious choice on their own; some were pressured by neighbors and surrounding businesses. There's no single factor that sparked this trend, but the one thing that seems to make it worthwhile is the effect on the wines' taste: terroir.

Granted, early day organic wines weren't the best-tasting bottles on the list. Nowadays some are regarded to be of the same caliber -- and even higher -- than non-organic, non-biodynamic choices. Many wineries are now at least growing their grapes organically, and biodynamic methods are also on the upswing.

With wine, there's no definitive "certification" that is really practical to follow. Many vintners are organic, but also incorporate elements of biodynamics. Some only follow principles of biodynamics, but since that inherently means "natural and sustainable", many use organic methods by default. And then, some choose to get certified as "organic" and/or "biodynamic", while others forgo the paperwork and audits altogether.

Regardless, in 2002, a Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices was established, so California vintners can voluntarily self-assess their methods to conserve natural resources, protect the environment and enhance relationships with employees, neighbors and local communities.

More about organics

Biodynamics: Eco-Winemaking

How to best summarize biodynamic winemaking... It's tough. Very simply, take basic organic methods, add some homeopathy, position of the moon, time of the year, and some earthly, pagan-like rituals, and voila! you've got a self-sustaining, biodynamic winery.

It actually does make sense. Thinking about your land as a self-sustaining eco-system is probably the fundamental element that the current USDA organic standards didn't consider... (That in itself is another story.)

Some people criticize biodynamics as being obscure and new-agey, but when you look at the results, it's hard to deny the increased soil fertility, prolific vines, and healthy surrounding land and wildlife. Most importantly, vintners and oenophiles agree that biodynamic methods produce the highest quality grapes and enhance the personality of terroir.

The term biodynamic was introduced in the 1920s, but the philosophy has been around for thousands of years: "everything in the cosmos—people, plants, animals and stars—are interconnected, influencing each other."

Read more:
A great biodynamics overview
Info on a few, local biodynamic wineries
Examples of biodynamics' more interesting methods (a la fermented cow manure in a cow horn buried in the winter soil)

Let's Shop

You can do a little research on the wines you love, or you can use our cheat sheet of some local, conscientious wineries who at least grow their grapes organically:

Aetna Springs, Araujo Estate, Barra, Benziger, Bonterra, Davis Bynum, Chappellet, Coturri, Cooper Mountain, Deerfield Ranch, Del Bondio, DeLoach, Domaine St. Gregory, Everett Ridge, Fetzer, Fisher, Frey, Frog's Leap, Hartford Family, Honig, Kathryn Kennedy, Kaz, La Rocca, Lolonis, Longmeadow, Madonna Estate - Mont Saint John, Mason Cellars, Morgan, Napa Wine Company, Niebaum-Coppola, Porter Creek, Quivira, Shafer, Robert Sinskey, Sobon Estate, Spottswoode, Staglin Family, Storybook Mountain, Topolos, Turley, Vigil, Volker, Wild Hog, Yorkville. disclaimer: we tried to make this complete, but may have omitted some! please email us if so.

Frey Vineyards is having a promotion where you get 10% off three bottles, and 5% goes to support the Organic Consumers Association.

Online Sales
A few popular online shops with a nice organics and biodynamics selection:
K&L Wine Merchants
Organic Vintners
Organic Wine Company

And of course, many organic/biodynamic wines are available at our local, organically-minded Retail Shops.

K&L Organic Winetasting: Saturday

Ready to drink some organic wine? Hopefully you are one of the lucky 200+ attending the K&L Wine Merchants' Artisan Winemaker Tasting this weekend (the 25th). With organic and biodynamic wines from Loire Valley, Burgundy, Jura & Southern France, and tasty snacks provided by Slanted Door, Hog Island Oyster & Healdsburg's Cheeseshop, it's sure to be a nice day in K&L's eco-oeno-gastro-tent South of Market.

In case you're not attending this Saturday, K&L are still a good pick for organic oenophiles and wine rookies alike. Their buyers are focusing more on sustainable ag winemakers, and you can browse their descriptive organic and biodynamic wine inventory from the comfort of your home. If you go into their stores, ask for their organic specialists for minimal searching and maximal satisfaction:

San Francisco:
638 4th Street
Mulan Chan,, (415) 896-1734 ext. 1021

Redwood City:
3005 El Camino Real
Jeff Vierra,, (650) 556-2736

Quivira Winemakers Dinner: Tuesday

Ok, ready for more delicious, local, biodynamic wine, and more delicious, local, organic food? This coming Tuesday is the Quivira Winemaker Dinner at Millennium.

Small and family owned & operated, the Quivira Estate is dedicated to providing the highest quality of organically & biodynamically produced varietals. Each wine truly exemplifies the fruit known to thrive in the climate of Sonoma County's "Dry Creek Valley". Robust, rich & complex, each wine is specially handcrafted to highlight each of the varietals' beauty... be it Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel or the more esoteric varieties originally of the Rhone. Eric Tucker and Millennium's ever talented kitchen staff will team together to create a five-course organic menu designed to showcase each of these wine's unique characteristics.

Tuesday, March 28th, 6pm-9:30pm
(dinner served promptly @ 6:30pm)
5-course prix fixe with wine pairing $75/person
Call for a reservation: 415-345-3900; space is limited.

Dining Out for Life: April 27

Dine well on Thursday, April 27th, and help make a difference in stopping the spread of HIV. Last year, your dining dollars helped raise over $150,000.

Dining out for Life is a fundraiser for the STOP AIDS Project, presented by our local bank Wells Fargo.

Many of the participating restaurants are organic-friendly. A great excuse to dine out for a great cause.

Check out participating restaurants and book your reservation today!


Check our organically-inclined Events page for more happenins as they are announced.

Food Politics Spring 2006 Free Lecture Series
Wednesdays, 2/8/06-4/5/06, 4:00pm
Introduced by: Marion Nestle. Great speakers each week: click the link for info. Room 250, Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley; Free - Public Welcome

San Francisco Whole Foods Support Potluck
Fri, 3/24/06, 7:30pm
Upper Market, just five minutes from the Castro St. MUNI station. in SF; Free

Meet the Producer - Orangewood Farm
Sat, 3/25/06, 10:00am-10:30am
South Arcade of the Ferry Building in the teaching kitchen in SF; Free

Workshop: "Edible Gardening"
Sat, 3/25/06, 10:00am-1:00pm
Wente Vineyard , 5050 Arroyo Rd. in Livermore; Free

Seasonal Cooking Demonstration ~ Christophe Hille of A16
Sat, 3/25/06, 10:30am-11:30am
South Arcade of the Ferry Building in the teaching kitchen in SF; Free

Class: "Organic Gardening"
Sat, 3/25/06, 2:00pm-4:00pm
Joy of Learning Center, 4 Birch Way in San Rafael

Artisan Organic Winemaker Tasting at K&L Wines with Louis-Dressner
Sat, 3/26/06, 1:00pm-4:00pm
K&L Wines, 638 4th St., b/t Townsend & Brannan St. in SF; $50

Quivira Vineyards Winemaker Dinner
Tue, 3/28/06, 6pm-9:30pm (dinner served promptly @ 6:30pm)
Millennium Restaurant, 580 Geary St./Jones in SF; 5-course prix fixe with wine pairing $75/person

California Agriculture Day: Creating Healthy Choices
Wed, 3/29/06
State Capitol West Side in Sacramento

Mendela Foods Cooperative Fundraiser
Thu, 3/30/06, 5:30pm doors open
First Congregational Church, 2501 Harrison St. in Oakland; $25 suggested donation

Fair Trade Chocolate Tasting
Thu, 3/30/06, 6:30pm
Coffee to the People, 1206 Masonic @ Haight in SF; Free

Seasonal Cooking Demonstration ~ Louis Maldonado of Cortez
Sat, 4/1/06, 10:30am-11:30am
South Arcade of the Ferry Building in the teaching kitchen in SF; Free

The Child with the Broad Smile: Nourishing foods for kids
Sat-Sun, 4/1/06-4/2/06, 11:30am-4:30pm
near the El Cerrito BART station in East Bay; $180 per person for both days, meals included

Mini-Farmers at Tilden Park
Sat, 4/8/06, 10:00am-11:30pm
Tilden Nature Area, in Tilden Park in Berkeley; $6 ($8 if not a resident of Alameda or Contra Costa County).

Basic Organic Vegetable Gardening: Learn How to Grow Your Own Food
Sat, 4/8/06, 10:00am-1:00pm
UC VIllage Community Garden in Albany; $15 general, $10 Ecology Center members, no one turned away for lack of funds.

Cerini, Poncia, and Spaletta Ranches: Grassfed Beef, Lamb & Heirloom Potatoes
Sat, 4/8/06, 10:00am-2:00pm
In Tomales; $20 MALT members / $25 non-member

Spring Fling at Slide Ranch
Sat, 4/8/06, 10:00am-4:00pm
Slide Ranch, 2025 Shoreline Hwy in Muir Beach; $15/person in advance; $20 at the gate; $60 for families of 4 or more; age 2 & under free.

Seasonal Cooking Demonstration ~ Alfonso Sanna of Il Fornaio
Sat, 4/8/06, 10:30am-11:30am
South Arcade of the Ferry Building in the teaching kitchen in SF; Free

Slow Food Feast of Fools & Friends
Sun, 4/9/06, 7:30pm
CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission St./9th in SF; $35-75

Convert a Carnivore Day at Millennium
Wed, 4/12/06
Millennium Restaurant, 580 Geary St. in SF; 25% off!

Cooking Demo and Book Signing at Berkeley Farmers' Market
Thu, 4/13/06, 3:30pm
Thursday Berkeley Farmers' Market, Shattuck and Rose in Berkeley; Free

Cooking Demo & Booksigning at Berkeley Organic Market
Thu, 4/13/06, 3:30pm booksigning; 4:00pm cooking demo
North Shattuck Farmers' Market in Berkeley; Free

Feed the Fire!

Even a little snack! If you use these newsletters, use our website, or simply enjoy having delicious, organic food in the Bay Area, please support our programs that serve local, organic farms and the community. Om Organics is a project of the San Francisco Foundation - Community Initiative Funds, and can only continue with the help of contributions from conscientious people like you!

Any amount is appreciated!
You can make a donation:

  • via to
  • by credit card: via the SFF CIF donation page
  • by check: "Om Organics: Project of SFF CIF", 225 Bush St. #500, SF, CA 94104


© 2006 Om Organics 3.24.06-50