To certify or not to certify, that is the question

Well, it’s certainly the question on many growers’ minds, judging by the enquiries coming in to us at the RVF

Maybe no?

We think regeneration is a process, and not a destination.

The RVF exists to promote regenerative viticulture and assist growers everywhere in regenerating their landscapes.

We think it is more important to inspire people to get started, and to learn for themselves what works for them, than to tell growers that they must clear a high bar in order to ‘join the club’.

We seek to provide the evidence, resources and experience to support viticulturists at all stages of their journey towards regenerative farming without any requirement for third party validation.

And what should you certify? What is the ‘right’ way to regenerate your vineyard?

One of the most exciting things about regenerative agriculture is that there is a huge amount of innovation, and farmers are learning all the time. Certification can set things down on tablets of stone, and sometimes stifle new discoveries.

Maybe yes?

While we don’t tell people to get certified, we do think the various organisations that offer certification can offer good value, and we are delighted to share their details with growers who feel they are ready to take this step.

Here are some of the benefits to certifying:

  1. Certification may help vineyard managers comply with high environmental standards: you are guided through a process that helps you improve your practices year on year
  2. You an inform the consumer that your grapes have been grown according to the schemes’ standards: you can tell the world, including your customers, the lengths you have gone to in order to improve, for example, your vineyard ecosystem
  3. We are increasingly hearing of distributors looking for certified regenerative wines so it could open up markets for you
  4. They can provide validity to claims you make about how your grow your grapes and manage your land

So our official stance is neutral

If you decide to look into certification, the next question is… which one?  

How on earth are you supposed to know which one is the right one for you?

Some are global, some are national.

Some focus on reducing GHG emissions and carbon footprint across the whole supply chain.

Some focus on only the farming aspect. Of these, some cover all agricultural sectors. Others are viticulture specific.

Some focus on the whole ‘3-legged stool’ of planet, people and profit. Others only on the environmental aspect of sustainability.

Some have very exacting standards and are audited by a third-party certifier frequently. Others are self-audited and have a lower entry point.

It is therefore difficult to compare them, although some organisations are taking steps to do so.

Organic and biodynamic accreditation have long been considered the ‘gold standards’ in the environmental aspects of farming.

Regenerative farming has a high degree of overlap with organic and biodynamic farming. Therefore vineyards which are already certified under these schemes often have a head start on regenerative viticulture.

However, regenerative viticulture emphasises improving soil health. It is highly recommended to consider certification under one of the regenerative viticulture schemes available.

So, in alphabetical order, these are the ones that we are aware of that have certified vineyards as regenerative, with a few basic details. They each have slightly different standards and only you will know which one will suit you best.  There are also sustainable certification schemes with very high levels of regenerative practices, such as Napa Green, which we will dive into soon.

Note that we haven’t ‘audited the auditors’ so you’ll have to do your own due diligence…

A Greener World

This is a non-profit, which they say is built on an ethos of partnership with producers. Individual plans are tailored to individual farms, based on targets identified by producers and agreed with auditors, who visit annually. Targets include elements relevant to the individual farm and can be based on soil, water, air, biodiversity, animals and workers.

AGW certified France’s first regenerative certified vineyard, Chateau de Nages, in 2023.

Land to Market Verified

This is the certification scheme from the Savory Institute.  It describes itself as an outcomes-based approach assessed through their Ecological Outcome Verification (EOVTM), which provides an annual report. Requiring continuous improvement, the EOVTM combines indicators of ecosystem health, including soil health & fertility, sequestered carbon, water holding capacity and biodiversity. Growers with positive-trending data receive EOVTM certification.

They have just certified their first vineyard Mariah Vineyards in California.

Information taken from the Land to Market website.

Regenerative Organic Certification

Around 20 vineyards worldwide have now been certified, mostly in the USA, but rapidly expanding globally. Operated by Ecocert, in association with the Rodale Institute and Patagonia clothes. It has 3 levels: Gold, Silver (highest level obtainable in year 1) and Bronze. Tablas Creek and Troon have Gold. The first one outside the USA was Domaine Bousquet in Argentina. The first one in Australia was Inkwell Wines. Producers must also obtain organic certification. Includes a strong social aspect for workers and animal husbandry requirements.

Other certified vineyards include Bodegas Chandon and Terrazas de los Andes in Argentina; Weingut Jurtschitsch, Weingut Georg Toifl, Weingut Zahel and Weingut Winkler-Hermaden in Austria; Vinedos Emiliana in Chile; and Solminer, Abbot’s Passage, Bonterra, Grgich Hills, Spottswoode, Ambar Estate, Booker Wines, Villa Creek, Medlock Ames, Donum Estate, Neal Family Vineyards, Gundlach Bundschu and Estelbrook in the USA.

Information taken from the ROC website.

Regenerative Viticulture Alliance

This is the only scheme specific to viticulture, founded by the Regenerative Viticulture Association with Familia Torres.  Operated by Ecocert, it is international organisation, with a strong Spanish language focus. Growers are awarded transition status initially, working towards fully certified, with organic certification alongside (if they don’t already have it). After initial visit, growers self-certify until they are externally audited again after three years. There is an app to help with recording and monitoring improvements.  Wines are certified as having been made from regeneratively farmed grapes.

The first vineyards to be certified are the Familia Torres organic vineyards in Catalonia.


This is the certification scheme from regenerative pioneer Gabe Brown. Certification is valid for 3 years with annual inspections by verifiers who gather 65 data points.  There are 5 tiers of standards, with growers required to progress from Tier 1 (baseline evaluation and starting a plan) to Tier 2 (applying practices to 20%+ of the agricultural land base and having approved plan) to Tier 3 (applying practices to 40%+ of land and improved evaluation scores/soil tests) to Tier 4 (60%+ and improved outcomes) to Tier 5 (80%+ and maintaining outcomes).

Mendocino Wine Co is the first vineyard to have been certified (Tier 3).

Information taken from the Regenified website.


If you’re interested in which regions have the most certified regen vineyards, there are certainly a few hotspots. Paso Robles, Napa Valley, Sonoma, Mendocino and Mendoza each have three, with Oregon just behind with two (correct at February 2024).