Fabulous Eco-Winemakers: Part 4


Eric Jensen of Booker Vineyard

Tell us about the sustainable and eco-friendly practices at the vineyard: Farmer-winemaker Eric Jensen has practiced organic methods at the Booker estate since 2006, and in 2021 the vineyard achieved certification from California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), which oversees one of the nation’s most stringent and respected programs of its kind. The vineyard and winery are fully solar powered.

This year, Booker brought in 1,200 sheep, working with a local sheepherder in a mutually beneficial relationship to help manage the vineyard’s cover crops as an alternative to carbon-powered mowing. Nine species of cover crops are planted at the estate each year to replenish the soils with nutrients while also providing erosion control. Eric also recently spearheaded a beautification project with six neighboring wineries on Anderson Road in Paso Robles, privately funding the burying of power lines so that the native oaks can flourish along the road.

Booker is now working on achieving Regenerative Organic certification, which sets the highest standards in the world for soil health, animal welfare and farmworker fairness. In Eric’s words, “Whereas organic spells out what you can’t do, regenerative takes it a step further to create discernable improvement to the ecological and social function of the farm and community. In this way, problems are solved holistically within the parameters of a healthy ecosystem—which is something we’ve always strived for at Booker.”

Tell us about the varietals you make: Booker helped ignite the Rhône variety revolution in Paso Robles. Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Viognier and Roussanne are prevalent among the winery’s varietal wines and blends—nearly all grown at the Booker estate in the Willow Creek District. Booker’s sister labels My Favorite Neighbor and Harvey & Harriet specialize in Cabernet Sauvignon-based blends and Chardonnay.

What are a few wines that readers should try right now?

Booker 2019 Oublie

Booker 2021 Pink

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