Although farmland can still be seen, wineyards have become an iconic part of the region's commerce and culture. Recently some of the larger wineries and vineyards have sought a new trend of seeking ways to make their agricultural presence more positive and less intrusive on the land. Monoculture grape growers and neighboring home owners are concerned with the use of toxic pesticides that spread by wind and can cause soil and water contamination to neighboring land. This and other problems such as over use of water, and contamination of local water sources are leading a few of the grape growers to consider more integrative and sustainable practices. They seek more natural methods and products that can be used as alternatives to commonly used chemicals.
Northern California growers in Sonoma's Russian River Wine Appelation area have a rich viticulture and terroir (terroir is land from which the grapes are grown that imparts a unique quality specific to that region) but must also satasify a rural community that is extremely eco-concious. By doing so, grape growers may become more responsible stewards of the land and help towards a sustainable future.
The Russian River Appellation is smack in the middle of the agricultural environment of Sonoma County, and is one to the expanding farm lands and rual home areas. Commercial grape growing here continues to prosper as many of the Sonoma And Napa wines have consistently fetched staggeringly high prices and increasingly high wine ratings.
What could have been considered an onerous lack of stewardship by the vineyards has instead been viewed as an opportunity for a plant conservation experiment that began just a few years ago at a small nearby Sonoma farm that now hosts both an organic garden and vineyard.
The aim of the vineyard's design is to create a prototype where the vineyard landscaping supports a variety of native meadow grasses (i.e., graminoids) and endangered medicinal plants. This combination of plants provides significant ecological function through integration and ongoing renewal of endangered medicinal plants with the growth of native grasses that thrive easily and require lttile maintenance.
The project has begun to show the potentially positive impact of this vineyard landscape design on grape growing as cohabitation is supported and soil