Some people like to say “rules were made to be broken.” We like to say “when rules are created to support and protect farmers, vintners, the land, your neighbors, and amazing wine... maybe you should stick with them.”
Our great-great-great grandparents homesteaded Lodi in 1865, and we’ve called this our home ever since. And when you spend one and a half centuries in a town, you get to know it pretty well.
You also want it to exist for future generations, which is why we grow and source our grapes according to the Lodi Rules. It’s why we nurture our relationships with our growers, and develop long term partnerships with our local community. We’re proud of our reputation of making remarkable, sustainable wines, but we’re even more proud to do it all right here in Lodi.
With over 100 “rules,” or practices geared towards environmental, social, and economic sustainability, the Lodi Rules certification helps both wineries and consumers to make better choices when it comes to making and drinking wine. We live by these rules, and will neither confirm nor deny the existence of a Lodi Rules lower back tattoo on one of our winemakers. These rules have been vetted by scientists, academics, and environmental groups worldwide, and are the most thorough set of sustainable viticultural standards in the entire state of California.
Every year, we strive to make 100% of our wines Lodi Rules Certified.
It’s imperative to manage both the soil and water–the two major factors of wine growing under our control– in order to sustain them for future vintages as well as future generations.
These Lodi Rules establish practices for both soil quality and water usage, including maintaining soil nutrients, preventing erosion, analyzing water quality, managing irrigation sources and infrastructure, and monitoring irrigation needs.
Well maintained soil and regulated water consumption are just part of the environmental sustainability standards set by Lodi Rules. A core understanding that wineries exist as part of a larger ecosystem encompassing wildlife and other plants that exist in the region is an integral part of our focus on environmental stewardship.
These standards highlight using water and the land responsibly, encouraging biodiversity, and maintaining the surrounding plant and wildlife ecosystems. At Michael David, we use deficit irrigation, cover crops, and natural forms of pest management to maintain our delicate ecosystem.
All agricultural businesses eventually have to manage pests of both the plant and animal variety, and wine growing is no different. This subset of Lodi Rules focus on setting realistic thresholds for pests that avoids an all or nothing approach that leads to pesticide overuse, pest reduction best practices, and how to avoid pest overpopulation in the first place.
The owl boxes you see perched above our vineyards create a natural and simple form of pest management: owls eat rodents.
This group of Lodi Rules focuses on the organizational structure and the people of the winery, because no matter how sustainable you are, you need the right vision and the right people to realize long term success. These rules include standards on running a viable, purposeful business that sets goals, holds itself accountable, trains and educates its team members, sets and upholds safety standards, and fairly compensates all employees. And teambuilding! ...like our annual May growers event where we blind taste all lots of our wines. The week-long event ends with a grower’s dinner and awards ceremony.