We were first certified as a producer of organic wine in the year 2000 and have grown to become one of Argentina’s largest producers of organically grown grapes for wine production. Our grape varieties currently certified as organic include Torrontés Riojano, Bonarda, Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot, Aspirant Bouchet, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscatel, Buonamico and Malbec.
We currently have a total of 345 hectares of vineyards certified as organic, and our organic production represents approximately 8% of our total production. The dry, sunny conditions experienced in the Famatina Valley make for naturally healthy grapes and are ideal for organic cultivation.
Just in case you do not know, organic wines are wines made from “organically grown grapes” from a certified organic producer and this means that the producer’s vineyards cannot be treated with chemical fertilizers, fungicides or pesticides. The aim of the organic winemaker is to have a healthy living soil, free from harmful pests and weeds. Healthy soils mean healthy vines, which are less prone to disease and therefore are less reliant on chemicals.
Organic fertilizer (compost) feeds the soil rather than the vine which encourages growth of living organisms in the soil (i.e. worms, bacteria and fungi). Chemical (i.e. non-organic) fertilizers provide nutrients for the plant but do not encourage other life in the soil.
At La Riojana, we produce our own organic fertilizer by allowing sheep to graze in the vineyards which in turn produce organic fertilizer, then made available to our co-operative organic farmers.