SONOMA, CA – Today Bundschu Co, parent company of Gundlach Bundschu, Abbot’s Passage, GUNBUN, Towle Wine Company, and Huichica Music Festival, announces it has achieved Regenerative Organic Certified(R) (ROC) status as recognized by the Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA).
Renowned for making premium estate wine approachable, the Bundschu family has long been synonymous with wine, fun, music and arts in Sonoma. While the family-owned and operated company emphasizes they could not have operated for 165 years without a sustainability mindset from the beginning, the goal of certification is to expand education around holistic farming practices and the importance of-in the words of the ROA, “farming like the world depends on it.”
“When we got clued into what Regenerative Organic Certification was about, the fact that it extended beyond farming practices to the overall ecosystem, and would further enhance our carbon sequestration rates, that was really attractive to me,” Jeff Bundschu, President and CEO of Bundschu Company says. “ROC has become a framework for us to lean into because it formalizes what we’ve been trying to do here for the last 165 years, with a focus on future land and climate preservation.”
ROC status requires rigorous prerequisites. Before a company can apply to be Regenerative Organic Certified, they must have acquired a nationally recognized organic certification (such as CCOF, which Bundschu Company holds), which prohibits the use of toxic pesticides, GMOs, and synthetic fertilizers or inputs. Then, it must prove soil health (through practices such as minimal tillage and planting cover crops), animal welfare, and social fairness for farmworkers through living wages and healthy working conditions.
Spearheading the Regenerative transition and certification is Meghan Murphy, Bundschu Company Sustainability manager, who began working with the family in 2020.
“What originally drew us into pursuing this certification is not only that it’s science-based and outcome-driven, but that it looks at the land, animals, and people holistically,” Murphy says. “Many certifications just tell you what you can and can’t do, but ROC requires you to look closely at the biggest elements of your land, how they fully function together as one, and how one piece can’t be successful without the other.”
Ask three people at Bundschu Company what their favorite part about the regenerative transition is and one will probably get three different answers, which is evidence of the certification’s breadth and impact. Jeff’s cousin Towle Merrit, who lives on the property and oversees operations for Bundschu Co., can often be found in the fallow fields with his young kids taking care of the babydoll sheep and goats.
For Director of Winemaking, Joe Uhr, the Regenerative certification is all about wine quality and stewarding the old vines.
“Grapevines are perennial plants,” Uhr says. “Many of our vines are over 50 years old, and we’re hoping they grow for another 100. That means it’s really important to treat the surrounding area with care and forethought for the people who are going to come generations after us.”
Regenerative Organic Certified(R) requires companies take extra measures to ensure their practices are focusing on the ROC’s three pillars of soil health, social fairness and animal welfare. These practices can include but are not limited to zero use of chemical pesticides, organic cover cropping, compost, pest management, and using livestock such as sheep, goats, and donkeys, who all live at the family’s Rhinefarm Estate.
In a time where conscious consumerism demands that companies address issues like the climate crisis, ROC(R) products provide a level of comfort to individuals. Purchasing Regenerative Organic Certified(R) products allows consumers to feel that their purchase is encouraging an environmentally and socially positive impact.
As one of the first wineries with this certification, the team at Bundschu Co emphasizes this as just the next step in continuing their pursuit of climate stewardship and pushing boundaries in the agriculture and wine industry.
“The true definition of sustainability is what our family’s life work has been on the place,” Bundschu says. “We couldn’t have had a family business for six generations without functioning sustainably. Our communities and the ecosystem are dependent on the earth functioning sustainably, and ROC is the means for us do our part, while hopefully setting an example for other wineries and farmers of all types who want to preserve land and climate for the generations to come.”
About Bundschu Company
Since 1858, the company has embodied the belief that quality wine need not be divided from experience, but that one enhances–and connects–the other. Since then, the multigenerational company has deliberately grown an intentionally small portfolio of wineries and brands that each uniquely embody that spirit, including Gundlach Bundschu, Abbot’s Passage, GUNBUN, Towle Wine Company, and Huichica Music Festival. While the Bundschu Company honors the family’s legacy, they quest for the future by cultivating a diverse group of brands and businesses at the intersection of top tier wine and experiences, investing in innovation and sustainable practices, and championing the next generation of diverse leaders. For more information, please visit www.bundschu.com
About Regenerative Organic Certified(R)
Regenerative Organic Certified(R) is a revolutionary new certification for food, fiber, and personal care ingredients that assures shoppers that their purchase makes a positive impact at every level: environmentally, ethically, and socially. Regenerative Organic Certified(R) farms and products meet the highest standards in three pillars: soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness. Regenerative Organic Certified(R) is overseen by the 501(c)3 nonprofit Regenerative Organic Alliance. Learn more at https://regenorganic.org.
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