For Immediate Release
Testing Reveals No Glyphosate Found in Wines from Two CA Organic Vineyards
Today, Moms Across America announced that wines from two California vineyards tested negative for glyphosate. Phil Larocca of LaRocca Vineyards, and Athan and Denise Poulos of Lolonis Family Vineyards & Winery both had separate glyphosate testing done on their own wine samples and reported that the results came back as undetectable. This is welcome news in a landscape of widespread use and contamination of glyphosate based herbicides.
“We are thrilled to celebrate these tests results and the bravery of these vineyard owners who took the risk of testing and finding out inconvenient and frightening information,” said Zen Honeycutt of Moms Across America. “As Maya Angelou says, ‘Once we know better, we do better’, and we acknowledge that these vineyards wanted to know, so that they could do better if needed.”
Over 300 million pounds of glyphosate based herbicides are applied to American farms each year. Glyphosate based herbicides are often sprayed between the rows of vines during their dormant period and can be taken into leaves and grapes through the roots.
Moms Across America released a report in March from a supporter showing that 100% of the 12 CA wines tested were positive for glyphosate, including two organic brands, in order to raise awareness about the prevalence of toxic chemical use in grape growing. The widespread contamination of glyphosate herbicides has been recorded in tap water, irrigation water, rain, soil and many food and beverages nationwide and around the world. Studies have linked glyphosate based herbicides to non Hodgkin’s lymphoma, neurotoxicity, birth defects, breast cancer and liver and kidney damage. Vineyard owners from many regions became concerned about the widespread contamination and began testing.
Phil LaRocca of LaRocca Vineyards said, “I watch my grandkids running around through my vineyard. There is no fear of any toxic substance rubbing off on them from my vines. They eat grapes right off the vine without fear of contaminated fruit. They even eat grapes off the vineyard floor. A healthy soil maintains a healthy biological balance that may even make them immune from allergies and asthma.”
Around the world, citizens and growers are concerned about the use of glyphosate. Glyphosate herbicides were banned in Sri Lanka in 2015 due to the scientific evidence of the causation of liver and kidney damage to it’s citizens. Over 20,000 people (in Sri Lanka)died in connection to the use of glyphosate based herbicides. 8,000 were women and children who did not work on the farms, but came in contact with family who did, or drank water contaminated with glyphosate. There is growing alarm in the USA over the use of glyphosate based herbicides in any capacity.
Denise Poulos of Lolonis Vineyard said “The article about glyphosate in wine stunned me! I can understand how conventionally farmed vineyards can have glyphosate in the fruit, but organic and biodynamic farms?”
LaRocca continued, “We cared for a neighbor’s vines and she used Roundup, heavily. When harvesting time came, our grapes, which we did not use Roundup on, could be harvested for 2-3 months. Her grapes ripened and rotted on the vine within 7-10 days. Roundup was the only difference in the care of the vines.”
The Poulos family shared how their farm could be different from other vineyards who have had wines test positive for glyphosate. Their property has been in Denise's family since her grandfather, Tryfon Lolonis, purchased it in 1914.
Nick Lolonis graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Viticulture and Enology in 1951. He would come back to the Home Ranch, but something was different. Not too many birds, no sounds of frogs from the ponds, where were the lizards? Nick convinced his father to allow him to farm a small portion of the vineyard organically. Cover crop was planted between the rows and compost was spread around each vine instead of using factory manufactured fertilizer. Ladybugs were also brought in to control pests. The lower leaves on the vines were pulled early during the growing season to reduce areas for pests to lay eggs. The vines were dry farmed so the roots would penetrate deeply into the rocky red soil and search for water and nutrients. The under vine cultivating was all done by hand and wild ivy vines and poison oak carefully removed.
Organic farming was successful. The entire vineyard was converted in the 50's and is still organically farmed today using many of the same methods. Many of our vines are over 70 years old and when the soil web is in balance, everything thrives.
We feel that a natural environment will prolong the healthy life of everything, including grapevines. “
The use of glyphosate based herbicides in grape growing and all farming is unnecessary and harmful. Although the vine rows look “clean”, there is a heavy cost to pay for the perceived “aesthetic appearance”. Many grape growers grow cover crops in between their rows and report more nutrient dense soil, better water retention and less labor. Plant pathologist Dr. Don Huber has reported in his talks that grape growers used to see vines last for more than a generation, over 100 years, but now, he believes, due to the practice of using Roundup, which depletes the vital nutrients of any living thing it touches, conventional vines are only lasting 10-20 years.
Consumers also report feeling better after drinking organic wine versus conventional wine. Whether this is due to the lack of glyphosate and other toxins or the lack of sulfites has not been determined, but Honeycutt states, “Whatever it is, herbicides or sulfites, I only buy organic wine, and I have no after effects the next morning, even after 2-3 glasses of wine.”
Nutrition and health practitioner Kathy Blum, who recently spoke at the EPA FIFRA panel December 16, 2016 on glyphosate as a carcinogen said, “ I am appalled that we are even discussing the spraying of a probable carcinogen on our food. We have skyrocketing cancer rates. We should be doing whatever we can to eliminate our risk of getting cancer, by not allowing glyphosate herbicides to be sprayed on our food, playgrounds, parks or streets.”
Moms Across America encourages everyone to request organic options at local wine shops or grocery stores and give an organic gift this year.