Aaron at Spottswoode

Aron Weinkauf and his dog

Spottswoode's winemaker, Aron Weinkauf, and his dog Indigo.
Sam Jones, Register

Spottswoode thibk local

Think Local, Plant Local sign at Spottswoode Estate

The 46-acre Spottswoode estate is Demeter certified, meaning it practices biodynamic viticulture practices.
Sam Jones, Register

Spottswoode Bird Box

Spottswoode Estate birdbox in vineyard

The Spottswoode vineyard has lots of bird boxes with grateful tenants.
Sam Jones, Register

Spottswoode tractor

Tractor at Spottswoode vineyard

Vineyard crews ride around the Spottswoode estate vineyard on a foggy fall day.
Sam Jones, Register

Spottswoode pool

Spottswoode Estate - pool

The Spottswoode estate has a house and pool overlooking the Demeter-and-organic-certified vineyard.
Sam Jones, Register

Spottswoode Solar array

Spottswoode Estate Solar Array

Spottswoode installed its solar array back in 2007.
Sam Jones, Register

“Beyond organic” and the philosophy of biodynamic viticulture

“Sustainable,” is the new sexy when it comes to the wine industry, with “Certified Organic,” “B Corporation,” and “Biodynamic,” acting as designer labels for vintners’ creations.

For Spottswoode Estate Vineyard and Winery in St. Helena, this go-for-the-green mentality encouraged the company to invest a whole bunch of time, energy and money to pursue all of these certifications, including biodynamic “Demeter,” credentials.

“The goals of all of them are great, but there’s not a lot of overlap,” said Spottswoode’s winemaker and vineyard manager, Aron Weinkauf.

Spottswoode earned its organic certification in 1992, acting as an early adopter alongside one other vineyard in Napa Valley. Weinkauf’s predecessor and his crew then started farming biodynamically “loosely” in 2008, and after Weinkauf joined in 2015, the winery ultimately got its Demeter certification in 2020. The company is also certified with the local program Napa Green, and is currently pursuing a “TRUE” zero waste designation.

But as a lesser-known certification program compared to the others, the idea of biodynamic agriculture is not well understood.

In the case of Weinkauf and Spottswoode, he said that day-to-day operations did not differ much between organic and biodynamic farming.

“Within the Demeter certification, in order to be certified you have to have your organic certification already, so I kind of look at that as that does a whole lot of the footwork already,” said Weinkauf. “And then on top of that, it’s kind of just a mental shift … It doesn’t need to radically change what somebody who’s already farming organically does.”

Making the commitment to third party certification takes time and effort, but it is worth it to demonstrate our commitment to the community and to protect our watershed, our land and the air we breathe.​

- Susan Boswell, Chateau Boswell Winery