The Challenge: Clean Farming
Our goal is to have the areas of Sonoma and Napa be known as wine regions that are both recognized among the finest of the world not just for there quality of wine but also for setting an example on how to farm at the highest level. We would like to build a platform other wine regions can adopt. With the momentum, we would also like to find away to help bring this higher level of farming to corn and soy.
Every year as farmers we are faced with challenges we have to deal with. In this modern era, these challenges can be met with a wide array of options and products to help us get through the growing season the best we can. Some products are more needed and good, and some are less needed and bad. The goal here is to align our farming community with the best options that are effective and allow our wine region to be recognized not only for its world-class wines but also our conscious alignment with nature and our community.
Right now, the biggest issue is also the easiest to fix and that is the unneeded, overused use of herbicides. Not just Roundup and glyphosate, but all herbicides. They are bad for the environment, ruin the soil structure, which is so important in farming, bad for our health, and end up in your products, your neighbor’s products, our rivers, our air space and our backyards. It's time we as a community elevate our farms to a higher standard and set a global example. Our goal here is to teach our community – from the weekend farmers to the big corporate farmers – why we should walk away from certain paths and follow and others. We want Napa and Sonoma to set an example that other wine regions and farming communities can follow.
The name 'The Monarch Challenge' comes from the fact that since Roundup's introduction into the market in 1974, the Monarch butterfly population has declined by 90% and is currently under the threat of extinction. The environmental impact goes beyond the Monarch to frogs, bees, other pollinators not to mention our human health.
Wine has been cultivated, made and enjoyed since the beginning of human civilization. This modern chemical farming movement began post-World War I and rose in success alongside the marketing and rise of the smoking era... And we all know what has happened to prescribing cigarettes “recommended by your doctor” or even simply smoking in public places. Needless to say, it is time we also reevaluated what we put in our farms and go back to our roots.
Currently, there are several ways to have beautiful under-the-vine weed management with tractors and weed-whackers without the use of herbicides. The cost at the moment is a bit more than spraying glyphosate at roughly $500 to $1,500 dollars per acre, which is $0.02 to $0.18 per bottle based on 3 tons to the acre (Roundup or glyphosate is about $90 to $160). We are putting together books on how this can be done with the best technology we have today.
At the moment, we are asking Napa and Sonoma to elevate the farming as a cost. With that said, we are also looking into technology that can make farming without herbicides equal to if not less costly than with.
Through wine sales, we plan to fund The Monarch Challenge and build our team. Rather than a gala, dinner, event or party – which are more fun but cost much more – we have aligned a few wineries that are producing special bottlings to sell and help fund the team that will be dedicated to this cause. 100% of the proceeds of this wine will be going to making this happen. 100% of this bottling was donated by RAEN winery (Find out how your winery can bottle, sell and donate your wine sales to this cause). Corks were donated by Amerim, Labels by Euro Stampa and thank you to our team of activists who have donated so much time.
Glyphosate Effects On Glyphosate Resistant Soybeans (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry)
Monarch Butterflies: The problem with herbicides (Science Daily)