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Medlock Ames
April 10, 2023 | Organic Farming | Medlock Ames

Our Regenerative Farming Certification



to receive Regenerative Organic Certification. Started by the founders of Patagonia, this certification recognizes our efforts to go far beyond being merely organic incorporating the concepts of soil health and worker fairness.

It allows us to demonstrate that we are good stewards of our land and people, and in the process helps us to combat climate change by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and putting it in the soil in the form of organic matter. This creates benefits which include improving water quality, decreasing our need to irrigate, reducing incidence of disease and pests, and even making better wines.



The 2019 Kincade Fire was a wakeup call for us. It caused a lot of damage to our vineyard and the wild lands surrounding us. It led me to do a lot of soul-searching. Why are we having so many wildfires in California? What’s creating the hotter and dryer climate leading to wildfires? What is our role and responsibility in the climate crisis? As I searched for answers, I kept coming across a phrase I was not familiar with, regenerative farming.

I was curious. Those I admired, the pioneers and visionaries in the field of viticulture and agriculture in general were talking about it. Practices such as enhancing biodiversity, integrating animals into the vineyard, planting cover crops, reducing tillage all made intuitive sense to me, but I did not have the scientific understanding of why they were important. They just felt right. But the more I read and the more I spoke to experts, something clicked, and it all fell into place. This encouraged us to seek out the Regenerative Organic Alliance and apply for certification



Going through the steps to get certified was an eye-opening process. It was gratifying to learn that we were already doing most of the things required. We had to document a lot of our processes which was a great exercise to think through why and how we do things. But there were two significant changes. The first was to reduce the amount of tillage that we do.

Farmers have been tilling the ground to eliminate weed competition for nutrients and water for thousands of years, and it is a particularly important tool for organic farmers who don’t have a chemical arsenal of herbicides to rely on. But tilling the soil leads to compaction and reduces the soil’s ability to hold more water. We had been moving away from tillage, but we have accelerated this process and will be completely no-till this year.

The other big change has been to include our vineyard workers more in the decision-making process. These people have an intimate knowledge of each vine and the contours of the land. They have a tremendous understanding of the vineyard. Seeking their input on our farming will help us make better wine.



Agriculture as an industry is responsible for 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions. But it doesn’t have to be! Farmers and ranchers around the world manage most of the Earth’s land surface area. Through the adoption of regenerative practices, we can collectively enhance our soil’s ability to hold and store carbon and reverse the effects of climate change.

We are just one small operation. We only manage 340 acres. But wine is such an effective medium for starting a conversation. We have been talking about the importance of where and how grapevines are grown for thousands of years. People are curious about these things with grapes to a degree that they are not with say, corn. This curiosity about the origins of the flavor of wine in the glass gives us an opportunity to talk about these concepts with our consumers.

Regenerative farming also holds the promise of allowing farmers to use fewer inputs of fertilizers, pesticides, and irrigation. We hope to serve as a test case to help other vineyards adopt these practices.

Ames Morison
Co-Founder, Medlock Ames Winery 


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