weed management toolkit


Napa Green is the first sustainable winegrowing certification globally to require the phaseout of Roundup, and ultimately synthetic herbicides. When we looked for a roadmap and resources for going herbicide-free we didn’t find it all in one place, so we created this Weed Management Toolkit to support our Napa Green community and other perennial growers looking to cultivate healthier soils and regenerative farm systems.
Since Napa Green became an independent nonprofit in 2019, our goal has been to set the highest bar for sustainability and climate action in the wine industry. Our next-level Napa Green Vineyard program, launched in 2021, is unique in its whole-systems focus on: Social Justice, Regenerative Ag & Soil Health, Irrigation Efficiency, Forest Health, Climate-smart burning/alternatives, and Pesticides. 

While pesticide and herbicide use is just one element of a holistic approach to sustainable winegrowing and climate action leadership, this leadership matters to our families, our communities, and our customers. As a world-renowned winegrowing region, producing the premier agricultural product, we must leverage our powerful leadership platform to galvanize change locally and globally. 
Napa Green takes this bold stance for the health of the ecosystems and communities in which we farm, and for the health of the stewards whose careful management results in the finest wines in the world.

Message from Executive Director 

Case Studies: the how and costs of herbicide-free

Weed management tools

Clemens Weed Knife

Pros: Lower soil disturbance, no soil inversion. High ground speed. The frame can also support a ‘twister’ type mower for a pre-knife pass, or a french plow for deeper disturbance. Single- or double-sided.

Cons: Low level of disturbance means weeds can re-sprout depending on timing and soil moisture. Not great with heavy weed cover. Can either be one sided (lower efficency) or, on flat ground, can have a second side, but might require multiple passes.

Gramegna Power Harrow

Pros: Lower soil compaction than others. Effective in varying soil types. Can handle terraces. Head articulates to adjust for slope.

Cons: Single-sided, doesn’t do well with lots of rocks. Expensive and lots of maintenance required.

Calderoni Rotary Disk Harrow

Pros: Double-sided and efficient. Handles rocks well.

Cons: More compaction, especially on moist soil.

Pellenc Sunflower

Pros: Double-sided, lower number of passes. Limited soil disturbance.

Cons: Can cause soil compaction. Can require multiple passes due to lower termination efficacy.

Gearmore Spedovator

Pros: Low soil disturbance. Can handle tall weeds.

Cons:  Requires several passes: One to turn the soil/weeds and another to replace the soil on each side.

French Plow

Pros: Very effective at smothering weeds and preventing regrowth.

Cons:  Significant soil disturbance (inversion of the top layer). Possible compaction in wet soil. Long term use can displace topsoil. Single-sided.

Fischer TWISTER Mower

Pros: No soil disturbance. Fast groundspeed. Keeps living roots in the ground.

Cons: Does not kill herbaceous cover. Possible understory growth depending on timing.



Pros: Ability to manage the entire vineyard floor, even steep, terraced, and tight rows, without fossil fuels. Increased nutrient cycling, as well as soil and vine health.

Cons: Require knowledgeable shepherds to be managed/rotated effectively. Small parcels are inefficient. Damage to vines and infrastructure is possible.


Organic (OMRI) Herbicides

Pros: Helpful as a foliar spray when the soil is too wet to cultivate. Reduces weed competition in unfavorable conditions

Cons: Organic herbicides do not match the effectiveness of synthetic herbicides, but are another tool in the weed management kit. They are ineffective once weeds have fully established root systems and can be expensive.

Note that feedback is assembled from members who have used these tools.

events and workshops


Napa Green Town Hall

Thursday, December 7 · 4:30 - 6:30pm
St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery

Over snacks and wine, hear from Anna Brittain, Napa Green Executive Director, and the Napa Green team about recent program updates. There will be a panel with Ivo Jeramaz, Vice President of Vineyards & Production at Grgich Hills Estates and Steve Matthiasson, of Matthiasson Winery and Premiere Vit, talking about herbicide-free farming, approaches, costs/benefit and ROI.


Grower Roundtable: Takeaways from 2023

Thursday, January 18
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Alpha Omega
Producers have been subjected to a rollercoaster recently- from an extremely early harvest in 2022 due to heat, to one of the latest memorable harvests in 2023 due to a cool growing season. Join us, along with industry-leading winegrowers and vintners, to discuss the 2023 season and the techniques in the vineyard and cellar that can aid in adapting to the new norm of climatic extremes.

Registration Coming Soon


Weed Management: Equipment, Tools & Grazing

Thursday, February 15, 2024 · 9am - 1:30pm

Learn from Inglenook and others about equipment and tools being used for herbicide-free and organic weed management. See tools in action and ask questions. Then hear from Perennial Grazing about the the benefits of sheep in the vineyard, and the essential importance of proper management. In addition, hear from Sarah Keiser with Wild Oat Hollow about the use of goats for adjacent land management and fire fuel thinning. We'll look at a forested area and talk about potential prescriptions.

Cover Crop

Economics of Organic

Location & Time TBD
One of the main resistances to phasing out Roundup is increased labor and equipment costs. With rising supply chain costs, the costs of herbicides and fertilizers have risen dramatically, so phaseout can offset increased labor costs. In addition, leaders like Grgich Hills Estate, a Napa Green member, have shown that regenerative organic farming can be cost-effective.

Regenerative practices are a proactive approach to farm health. If you’re healthy enough you don’t get sick – you’re able to fight off pests and disease. It’s a paradigm shift.

We need to have a cultural shift in vineyard aesthetics. Is bare ground how we want to present our skill as farmers? Or cultivating life under our vines?

Regenerative farming starts with a mindset to build biological and human communities…On farm after farm the soil is naked, hungry, thirsty and running a fever.

The Napa Green Vineyard certification provides growers a beneficial roadmap for continual improvement. The process lead Dominus Estate to measure our environmental impact and, since we can only change what we measure, has strengthened our methods for interacting with our site's vital resources: soils, water, flora, fauna and people. Ultimately, this certification improves the grower's relationship to the land and deeply informs farming decisions.

You don’t hear more stories about how farmers eliminate herbicides because usually they just decide to do it, and they don’t look back. The decision is the hardest part.

Eliminating Roundup and other synthetic herbicides is a significant step towards more just, resilient agricultural communities and local ecosystems. A non-exhaustive list of the benefits: Farmworker health, Soil health, Ecosystem health, Community health, Consumer health, Consumer perception/Market demand, Visibility of Napa Valley and the wine industry.




Not yet a Napa Green member? Learn more about our leading certification, including our boots-on-the-ground consulting services for regenerative farming, soil health, and irrigation efficiency. 

If you have any other suggestions for tools or resources please send them to vineyard@napagreen.org. Consider joining our Regenerative Viticulture google group, and Newsletter mailing list for regular updates.

A live check in with @abrittain & @reyeswine.mw!
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🌿 Did you know that less than 3% of philanthropic donations go to environmental work? 

Please consider donating to Napa Green this giving season with one of several ways at any level! 

Head to the link in our bio for details!
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With gratitude and joy, we wish you a beautiful day & start to the holiday season from all of us at Team Green! 

- Ben, Meghan, Anna, Marissa, Sierra & Megan
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‘If not here, where? If not now, when?’ 

“The onus is on us as a world class wine growing region to be leaders in sustainability & climate action.” 

- Executive Director of Napa Green, Anna Brittain
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It’s been a big week at Napa Green and we want to take a moment to raise a glass to salute you all. 

We are overjoyed to see so much support and invigorated interest in our mission towards sustainable practices and regenerative agriculture in the wine industry. 

We have many more details, paired with educational & financial resources that are already up and rolling on our website. We will continue to share them all, one by one and in great detail here on socials as well. 

For now please plan on joining us at our upcoming Town Hall meeting on Dec 7th at @stsupery. You can find more details at napagreen.org. 

Cheers and Happy Friday Napa Valley. We are so proud to be a part of this amazing community!
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⚠️ Important Announcement 

Napa Green becomes the first sustainable wine growing certification to require the phaseout of Round Up. 

Please find the link in our bio for the full press release and full suite of info & grower resources. 

Join us on December 7th for our Napa Green Town Hall at @stsupery.
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Don’t miss the awe-inspiring @nikki_silvestri at @dominusestatewinery on Nov 30th!
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You’re invited to join us for a very special day at @dominusestatewinery on November 30th. 

We’ll be briefly interviewing our speaker @nikki_silvestri right here on Instagram today at 2:00pm PST to hear more about what to expect at this event. See you then.
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Curious to learn more? Join us at @dominusestatewinery on November 30th for a rare event and luncheon. Link in bio for details.
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GREEN is the new black this season!! 

Head to the link in our bio now and get your shirts, help a good cause and be an honorary part of Team Green this season! 💚
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Let’s hear it for our Executive Director of Napa Green, the incomparable Anna Brittain for being named a 2023 Wine Industry Leader by @winebusinessmonthly!! 

In their Sustainability Stewards section (which we love to see) we find Anna named in good company with inspired fellow leaders! 

Head to our stories or the link in our bio for free access to the full November issue. 

Cheers to the great work of our visionary Director Anna Brittain!!
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Drink Green this Halloween! 💚
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Sierra is our Soil & Climate Specialist at Napa Green and her ask this year is that everyone consider donating to our small but mighty Team Green for Giving Season! 

Here is more from @regenwithsierra: 

“🎃 Happy Halloween Eve everyone! Today is my birthday, and I would be beyond thrilled if you would consider a donation to @napagreen to support a nonprofit focused on climate action in the wine industry 🍷🍾

@napagreen has the leading set of standards for sustainable practices, from soil to bottle. I am most proud of the work we do with winegrape growers to adopt regenerative agricultural practices in their vineyards. 

Please consider supporting us in our mission!  Click the link in bio for more! “
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Thank you for having us @visitnapavalley! We had a great time talking to visitors about the many sustainability practices our Napa Green wineries and vineyards employ! 

Stop into the Visit Napa Valley Visitor Center in Napa to learn more!
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