After having just visited with Fetzer Vineyards, to celebrate their Fiftieth Anniversary, the press release below does not surprise me in the least. I’ll be writing in greater details about my visit and their programs, in the near future. I want to let the following information stand on its own merit, before I even begin with my own musings…

Before moving to California from Maine, I was as organic then as I am now. I’ve always been. I was raised on my grandparents gardening… pre-Monsanto, is probably the best way to describe it. I’ve never used weedkillers. There are natural repellents, people. Try marigold in your garden to ward off bugs. I never understood why each year my grandmother surrounded her garden with a marigold patch. Now, I’m the grandmother… I totally get it.

What I also “got” in the early 80s, when I saw a bottle of Fetzer Vineyards wine, is what a smart direction to take! Yes, we bought the wine from our wine shop in Auburn, Maine. I have a very clear memory of that organic wine. I’m also thrilled that the organic and biodynamic program is spreading with great success. Onward and upward.

What does an organic winery look like?

Just like any other winery. The real difference is what you don’t see, like sheds filled with chemicals that are going to be spread on the grapes and ground. Anyone who might think wine causes allergic reactions, is probably not thinking about all of the chemicals that the wine grapes might have received, too – well before they’re even harvested.

So, when the World’s Largest Winery to be Certified as a B Corporation is recognized for improvement and commitment to regeneration, I’m on it…

About B Corporations

Certified B Corporations are leaders of a global movement of people using business as a force for good. They meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability and aspire to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. There are more than 2,500 Certified B Corporations in more than 150 industries and 60 countries with one unifying goal – to redefine success in business.

[PHOTO: Jo Diaz]


Fetzer Vineyards, the sustainability pioneer celebrating its 50th anniversary of Earth-friendly winegrowing, has been recognized as a “Changemaker” among certified B Corporations. The Changemakers List, published today, highlights global B Corporations that made the most positive improvement on their overall impact, based on an independent, comprehensive assessment administered by the nonprofit B Lab. This award recognizes Fetzer Vineyards’ measurable, verified progress towards enhancing its leadership in sustainability in the wine industry and beyond.

The largest winery in the world certified as a B Corporation, Fetzer Vineyards is among the first recipients of the Changemaker honor. The distinction comes at an exciting time for the vintner, which in 2017 was the only wine company among 19 global recipients of a “Momentum for Change” Climate Solutions Award for climate action at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany (COP23).

Using Business As a Force for Good: The B Corp Approach

B Corps are for-profit companies that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. The B Impact Assessment, which all B Corps undergo as part of the certification process, focuses on four key areas: Governance, Workers, Environment and Community. The Best for the World: Changemakers list honors the improvement made by B Corporations from one certification to the next, with re-certification occurring every three years.

“We are humbled by this recognition, which highlights our company-wide efforts to continue to evolve and improve our sustainability initiatives,” said Cindy DeVries, chief operating officer of Fetzer Vineyards. “We have a strong foundation of environmental focus dating to the last century, and today we are expanding on that to increase our overall positive impact as a company.” Last year, Fetzer Vineyards detailed its 2020 sustainability goals and initiatives in a report titled “Road to Regeneration.” Fetzer Vineyards’ latest B Corp Impact Assessment is also available online.

B Lab recently introduced the Changemaker category as part of its annual ranking of B Corps it categorizes as “Best for the World,” recognizing performance among organizations that explicitly strive to deliver social and environmental benefits along with profits for investors. Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab, noted that “People are hungry for companies like Fetzer Vineyards, who are changing the system by building businesses that seek to create the greatest positive impact.”

Strategizing Sustainability Toward 2020 Goals

Since obtaining B Corp status in 2015, Fetzer Vineyards improved its score by nearly 15 points, from 80.5 to 95.1, marking significant progress towards its goal of a 100-point score by 2020 (Certified B Corps must obtain a minimum of 80 out of 200 possible points on the assessment scale). Looking to the future, the B Corp framework will continue to guide Fetzer Vineyards’ sustainability strategy. “At Fetzer Vineyards, we strive for continuous improvement, and being a part of the B Corp community has pushed us to make tangible positive improvements in every area of our business, from our employees to communities to supply chain, ” said Elizabeth Drake, regenerative development manager at Fetzer Vineyards.

In keeping with its plans for continuous improvement, Fetzer Vineyards has set a goal to be Net Positive by 2030. This includes plans to replace all negative impacts with positive impacts that enhance and regenerate ecosystems and communities while producing sustainable growth for its business and shareholders.

About Fetzer Vineyards

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, Fetzer Vineyards was founded in 1968 by Barney Fetzer in Mendocino County, California. An award-winning purveyor of wines and spirits spanning multiple origins and available in more than 50 countries worldwide, Fetzer Vineyards is a leader in sustainable business practices, organic winegrowing, and craftsmanship in the cellar.

In addition to robust offerings under the winery’s flagship Fetzer label, the winery also crafts the leading wine from organic grapes, Bonterra Organic Vineyards, named American Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast magazine in 2016. Other California offerings include Adorada, Anthony’s Hill, Jekel Vineyards, Sanctuary Wines and 1000 Stories, the original Bourbon barrel-aged wine. Part of global winery Viña Concha y Toro, Fetzer Vineyards imports iconic South American wines such as Chile’s most-acclaimed wine, Don Melchor, as well as the Cono Sur, Viña Maipo, Marques de Casa Concha, Casillero del Diablo and Frontera labels from Chile, in addition to Argentina’s Trivento Reserve. Recently, Fetzer Vineyards entered the ultra-luxury wine and spirits category by forging a partnership with Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. to sell its historic craft rye whiskey.

[IMAGE: by Fetzer]