Are your wines certified organic, biodynamic or considered "natural wines"?
Riverbench is committed to sustainable winegrowing practices that are environmentally sound, socially equitable, and economically feasible. We are blessed that we grow our own grapes and produce our own wine from them, giving us total control of the winemaking process from beginning to end.
In 2009 we decided to have our vineyard certified sustainable by SIP, an independent, third-party auditor who helps vintners and winemakers demonstrate their dedication to preserving natural and human resources.
While we are not certified organic or bio-dynamic, we follow many of the same practices and often go beyond them with additional sustainability efforts. The SIP certification process for example, assesses practices at the soil and vine level, but also assesses energy conservation and air quality, packaging and recycling, even social responsibility. Here are just a few examples of our sustainable practices at Riverbench:
- We plant cover crops instead of using heavy fertilizers to replenish nutrients in the soil, provide natural biomass on the soil surface and promote soil micro-organisms.
- We identify and protect wildlife corridors throughout the vineyard to reduce impacts on natural species and to allow movement between habitats.
- We support owl boxes throughout the property to encourage local owl populations. The owls, in turn, help us mitigate pests.
- We support our employees through extensive educational training and academic opportunities.
Keeping these and other sustainable practices in mind, we not only produce a superior product, but we are able to help protect the environment, conserve natural resources, maintain the long-term viability of our vineyard, and support the economic and social well-being of our employees.
Natural wines are a little different. Although the term is not regulated or codified, it typically refers to low intervention winemaking techniques that avoid additives, sulfur, and filtering. Riverbench also believes in minimal intervention when it comes to winemaking. We are blessed that we have full control over growing our own grapes and can be extra selective in what comes into our winery. Starting out with such optimal grapes means that we do not have to intervene much in the winemaking facility. This means using native yeasts whenever possible and avoiding extra additives and preservatives. We will, however, always filter our wines. Filtering removes extra sediment and microbes that may taint the wine over time. Since Riverbench wines are intended for long-term aging, we want to make sure that what goes into the bottle is what you, the customer, will open up.