Bonterra Shows the Way with Affordable Organic/Biodynamic Wine

Part of the affordable equation: site your vineyard in more affordable Mendocino County. Spectacularly beautiful Mendocino County!

Is Affordable Organic Wine an Oxymoron?
I associate organic agriculture / viticulture as being better for workers and better for the health of the property, but it comes at higher cost due to more labor to produce a given amount of food/grapes/wine. Many younger consumers I know are interested in a sustainable approach in the foods they eat and the wines they drink, but budget often limits their choices. At the 2017 Wine Bloggers Conference, I had the opportunity to see for myself whether it’s possible for an Organic / Biodynamic approach to be affordable. The good news? It is!

Bonterra Organic Vineyards
On a pre-conference excursion to Mendocino Valley, north of Sonoma and Napa, we spent the afternoon at Bonterra Organic Vineyards. Bonterra’s mantra is “Organic for Everyone”, their mission is to show organic viticulture is viable on a large scale. They have 1000 acres of land in Mendocino County farmed organically, with 250 acres of that 1000 farmed under biodynamics. That’s large scale!

Come along on our tour at Bonterra Vineyards. (click on any photo for a full size slide show, hit “escape” to return to the post.

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. I paid to attend the pre-conference excursion to Mendocino County and purchased the Bonterra wines at a local retail shop in Minnesota.

Organic & Biodynamic is Great, Are the Wines Any Good?
At the end of the day, affordable organic and biodynamic are great, but are the wines any good? Before I could write this post, I needed to find out for myself. Bonterra wines are widely available, you only need to stop in to a local wine shop or grocery store and you will likely find them. My conclusion? True to their “Organic for Everyone” slogan, Bonterra makes delicious, affordable wines from organic grapes. They are a great choice in the $10-15 price range.

Bonterra Merlot, made from organic grapes

Bonterra Merlot “Mendocino County” 2014 ($14 at Surdyk’s)
Eye: Clear, deep ruby with a cool, bluish edge.
Nose: Clean, medium intensity dark cherries and cocoa.
Mouth: Dry, medium+ acidity, medium tannins. Medium intensity cherry, bittersweet chocolate with a bit of vanilla. A little more austere, less plush than many American red wines at this price point. While it was a little oaky for my taste, I found it enjoyable at dinner. Summertime bonus, it took a slight chill nicely. A nice red wine for a burger or steak on a summer evening. 14.4% abv, made with organic grapes.

The Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc is a bit restrained compared to its’ typical California and New Zealand companions.

Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc 2016 ($12 at Surdyk’s)
Eye: Clear, pale lemon with yellow-green highlights
Nose: Clean, medium- intensity fresh grapefruit and lemons. Less grassy and lower intensity when compared to typical New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
Mouth: Dry, medium intensity flavors of grapefruit and lemons. Medium+ acidity, medium alcohol, medium body. Nice lively acidity, but not overtly tart. Nice and lean and very refreshing. Excellent with a lobster salad over lunch.  13.3% abv made with organic grapes 49% Lake County, 48% Medocino County, 3% Sonoma County

3 Responses to “Bonterra Shows the Way with Affordable Organic/Biodynamic Wine”
  1. My first taste of Bonterra was their Viognier, which is still my go-to wine to pair with Indian Spiced Chicken Salad. Solid wines at an approachable price.

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