Press Releases
January 25, 2017 New CSWA Research Shows Sustainability A Growing Factor in Wine Trade Purchasing
April 21, 2016 Second Annual California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards Announced
January 27, 2016 CSWA 2015 Report Shows Wide Adoption of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices in California
April 13, 2015 Winners Announced for First Annual California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards
April 2, 2015 Raise a Glass to "Green" for California Wines Down to Earth Month
January 22, 2015 California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) Receives Governor's Top Environmental Award
November 17, 2014 First Annual California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards
May 7, 2014 Wine Institute Receives Drinks Business 2014 Green Award
April 2, 2014 California Wines get "Down to Earth" this April
April 2, 2014 Wine Institute Publishes Down to Earth: A New Book on California Sustainable Winegrowing
March 4, 2014 Free Sustainability Workshops Offered by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance
July 19, 2013 CSWA Introduces Online Tool to Measure Vineyard Greenhouse Gas Emissions
May 10, 2013 California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) Receives Drinks Business 2013 Green Award
May 7, 2013 Sustainability Resonates with Wine Consumers and Trade
April 2, 2013 New California Wines Green Tour Video Celebrates Down to Earth Month in April
January 22, 2013 CSWA Releases 2012 Progress Report, Third Edition Sustainable Winegrowing Workbook
June 6, 2012 CSWA Launches New Video Series on Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Winegrowing Case Studies
March 26, 2012 California Wines Get "Down to Earth" with New April Celebration
March 19, 2012 CSWA Introduces Performance Metrics to Help Growers and Vintners Measure Water and Energy Use
November 16, 2010 California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance Recieves California's Top Environmental Award
April 22, 2010 Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing Wineries Support Taste of the Nation Event April 29 to End Childhood Hunger
January 13, 2010 CALIFORNIA SUSTAINABLE WINEGROWING ALLIANCE LAUNCHES THIRD-PARTY CERTIFICATION PROGRAM: 2010 Sustainable Winegrowing Progress Report Also Released
October 15, 2009 New Study Reveals High Use of Environmentally-Friendly Practices in Calfiornia Winegrape Vineyards
September 8, 2009 NEW VIDEO Highlights California Sustainable Winegrowing
March 11, 2009 CSWA Offers Free Grower Guide on Reducing Risk Through Sustainable Winegrowing
December 16, 2008 Free Sustainable Management of Winery Water and Associated Energy workshops offered
July 16, 2008 Comprehensive Guide Published on Sustainable Management of Winery Water and Associated Energy
March 31, 2008 CELEBRATE EARTH DAY WITH ECO-FRIENDLY CALIFORNIA WINE: 10 Reasons to Toast the Day with Sustainably-Grown California Wine
January 28, 2008 Wine Institute and International Partners to Release New Greenhouse Gas Protocol and Accounting Tool
January 17, 2008 California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance to receive grants from National Fish & Wildlife Foundation and Department of Pesticide Regulation for survey and integrated pest management
October 12, 2007 USDA and CDFA Award Grants to the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance for Risk Management and Climate Change
July 9, 2007 USDA Awards $607,500 Conservation Grant to California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance
December 7, 2006 California Sustainable Winegrowing Report Reflects Increased Adoption of "Green" Practices
November 18, 2005 Free Workshops To Help California Wineries And Vineyards Conserve Energy And Save Money
June 20, 2005 California Wine Community's Code Of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices Receives Edmund G.
March 14, 2005 California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance Announces New Officers And Managing Director
December 2, 2004 Governor Schwarzenegger Gives Top Environmental Award To California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance
October 6, 2004 New Ground-Breaking Report Documents California Sustainable Winegrowing Practices: USDA Awards $475,000 Grant To Program
October 15, 2003 Wine Institute And CAWG Receive Integrated Pest Management Innovator Award
October 29, 2002 California Vintners And Growers Introduce Code Of Sustainable Winegrowing Guidelines

New CSWA Research Shows Sustainability A Growing Factor in Wine Trade Purchasing

January 25, 2017   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO —New research, commissioned by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), shows that a majority of the U.S. wine trade considers sustainability when making purchasing decisions and expects demand to increase over the next decade.  The research, conducted by market research firm Wine Opinions and presented at a press briefing at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento today, confirms what wineries active in sustainability programs have been reporting for years: demand for sustainably produced wine has increased over the past 5–10 years and is likely to continue to grow over the next decade.

The Wine Opinions findings are based on responses from 457 members of its national trade panel (including distributors, retailers, restaurateurs, media) surveyed in late 2016 about sustainable practices, certifications and wine sustainability programs.  Respondents represented 36 states, including California (26%), New York (13%), Texas, Florida, Oregon and Virginia (4-7% each).

According to the survey, a majority of trade respondents in the wholesale, on- and off-premise tiers either frequently (21%) or occasionally (52%) consider sustainable practices when selecting wines.  The leading reasons are response to consumer demand, personal interest or as a selling feature, with the emphasis varying depending on the tier of distribution. 

Environmental attributes rank high as necessary features of sustainable winegrowing with respondents citing integrated pest management (85%), conserving water (79%) and protecting natural resources (77%) as defining attributes of sustainability.

Although not seen as required by a majority, many respondents also view economic viability – of wineries and vineyards – as an important feature of sustainable winegrowing (84%) and emphasize that the social elements of sustainability (71%) are a significant component.  Nearly three quarters (73%) of U.S. trade respondents feel that verification by an independent third party is an important aspect of sustainability.

“The trade’s interest in sustainably grown and produced wines is a positive for the California wine industry, which has adopted sustainable practices on a large scale,” said Allison Jordan, Executive Director of CSWA.  “With over 2,000 California winegrape growers and winemakers participating in the CSWA program, representing nearly 70 percent of the state’s wine acreage and 80 percent of case production, California has one of the most widely adopted sustainable winegrowing programs in the world in terms of wine acreage and case production.”

CSWA also recently revamped the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE) program to enable use of the certification logo on wine bottles.  Certified participants were previously only permitted to use the logo on secondary marketing materials.  Following 18 months of development, including more than a dozen meetings by industry and outside experts and a Public Comment period, certification program updates were approved by the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG), Wine Institute and CSWA Board of Directors.  The program requires certification of both vineyard (grapes) and winery to carry the CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE logo on bottles so the first wines should start appearing in the market following the 2017 harvest in California.

In fact, in 2015, 25% of the statewide acreage and 64% of the statewide case production were certified by Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing, Lodi Rules, Napa Green and/or Sustainability in Practice. These 1,511 certified vineyards encompass 184,199 acres (74,543 hectares), and the 131 certified wineries produce 172.9 million wine cases.  In addition, many vineyards and wineries are certified Biodynamic®, California Green Business Program, Fish Friendly Farming or Organic.

A summary of the CSWA trade survey can be downloaded here

To learn more about California Sustainable Winegrowing, visit: www.sustainablewinegrowing.org or www.discovercaliforniawines.com/sustainable-winegrowing.  More information about Wine Opinions is at: www.wineopinions.com

Second Annual California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards Announced

April 21, 2016   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO — Recipients of the second annual California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards were announced and honored at a lunch reception and ceremony April 20 in Sacramento.  The California Green Medal, developed to showcase leading wineries and vineyards committed to sustainability, is presented by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, the California Association of Winegrape Growers, Wine Institute, Lodi Winegrape Commission, Napa Valley Vintners, Sonoma County Winegrowers and The Vineyard Team.  Many association partners also helped to promote the awards which were selected by a panel of wine and sustainability experts.

Awardees of the four 2016 Green Medals are:

LEADER AWARD, given to the vineyard or winery that excels in all “3 E’s” of Sustainability—Environmentally sound, socially Equitable and Economically viable.

Winner: Jackson Family Wines has been a sustainability innovator and an early adopter of healthy land management practices since the winery’s founding in 1982, with more recent actions guided by a company-wide sustainability strategy and a comprehensive audit of environmental impacts in 2008.  Incorporating triple bottom-line sustainability principles across all aspects of their business, the company deployed solar arrays at eight wineries and collaborated with Tesla to reduce energy demand and increase grid reliability, utilized industry-first water conservation technologies, introduced human resource initiatives to improve employees’ well-being, paid a price premium for certified sustainable winegrapes and led voluntary drought initiatives.  

ENVIRONMENT AWARD, given to the vineyard or winery that best demonstrates Environmental Stewardship through maximized environmental benefits from implementing sustainable practices.

Winner: Halter Ranch Vineyard. The environmental stewardship commitment by Halter Ranch Vineyard owner Hansjörg Wyss is demonstrated by the decision to preserve 1,700 acres of the Halter Ranch property with 18% planted to vineyards that work in harmony with the undeveloped acres to provide habitat, wildlife corridors and biodiversity.  The winery also works with the Wyss Foundation to help local communities and partners conserve millions of acres.  Halter Ranch conserves water, resulting in over a 50% reduction in irrigation; captures rain and winery water bringing over two million gallons back to irrigation ponds; and farms 281 acres of vines without removing oak trees or displacing existing wildlife and plant life.

Community Award, given to the vineyard or winery that is a Good Neighbor & Employer using the most innovative practices that enhance relations with employees, neighbors and/or communities.

Winner: Tablas Creek Vineyard.  Since its establishment in 1989, Tablas Creek has been a trendsetter for its wine region, actively involved in the Paso Robles community through the local winery association and by hosting workshops to share sustainability practices.  The winery has partnered with organizations such as must! charities, the local animal shelter, arts and youth sports organizations and has donated more than $100,000 to support local youth and arts programs since 2002.  Tablas Creek promotes productivity and job satisfaction by compensating employees with fully funded medical, dental and vision benefits, employer-matching 401k plans, educational support, wine shares and annual profit-sharing bonuses to both part-time and full-time employees.  Staff are encouraged to continue education.

Business Award, given to the vineyard or winery that best demonstrates Smart Business through efficiencies, cost savings and innovation from implementing sustainable practices.

Winner: McManis Family Vineyards. With a focus on constant improvement of practices and adoption of the latest farming and winemaking technologies, McManis Family Vineyards’ water use efficiency measures in the vineyard include the use of soil moisture sensors, flow meters and distribution uniformity tests; while their winery recycles water and averages one gallon of water to produce one gallon of wine.  Sustainable practices have also decreased energy use, diesel use and tractor work and limited the impact on soil.  Making sustainability a core part of their business strategy has not only benefited the environment, surrounding community and employee retention, but has streamlined processes in the vineyard, winery and office, resulting in economic gains that help ensure a thriving business for future generations.

"The awards program provides an exciting opportunity for California growers and vintners to be recognized for their hard work and dedication to sustainability," said Allison Jordan, CSWA Executive Director.  “The challenge was selecting four winners from the stellar applications we received from vineyards and wineries of all sizes from throughout California. The committee and judging panel were impressed by the breadth and depth of sustainable practices being used to conserve water and energy, maintain healthy soil, protect air and water quality, preserve wildlife habitat, and enhance relations with employees and communities, all while improving the economic vitality of vineyards and wineries.”

The second annual California Green Medal was judged by a panel of wine and sustainability experts. They include: Karen Block, Industrial Relations Manager, Viticulture & Enology, UC Davis; Hunter Francis, Director/Founder, Center for Sustainability in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; Allison Jordan, Executive Director, California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance; Camron King, President, Lodi Winegrape Commission; Karissa Kruse, President, Sonoma County Winegrowers; Kelli McCune, Senior Project Manager, Sustainable Conservation; Michelle Novi, Industry Relations Manager, Napa Valley Vintners; Cyril Penn, Editor in Chief, Wine Business Monthly; and Beth Vukmanic Lopez, SIP Certification Manager, The Vineyard Team.

Sponsors are:

Exclusive Media Sponsor – Wine Business Monthly

Platinum Sponsor – Nomacorc

Silver Sponsors – CC Wine Caves, Farm Credit Alliance, Marin Clean Energy, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, SureHarvest

Bronze Sponsor – Ag Unlimited, Preserva Products, Ltd.

Partnering organizations:  Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association, California Green Business Program, Fish Friendly Farming, Mendocino County Resource Conservation District, Napa County Resource Conservation District, Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, Russian River Valley Winegrowers, Temecula Valley Winegrowers, and Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley.

Visit: www.greenmedal.org for more information. 

CSWA 2015 Report Shows Wide Adoption of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices in California

January 27, 2016   Back to Top

 

SAN FRANCISCO – The 2015 California Wine Community Sustainability Report released today by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) shows broad participation in its Sustainable Winegrowing Program (SWP) and wide adoption and implementation of sustainable practices in vineyards and wineries around the state.  The Report also shows growing participation in Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing, a program providing third-party verification of sustainability practices.   

Broad Participation in CSWA

Since CSWA was founded in 2002, 2,091 California vineyard and winery organizations have participated in the SWP Self-Assessment Program.  These organizations represent over 421,000 acres, 69% of California’s winegrape acreage, and more than 212 million cases, 79% of cases produced in the state.  CSWA has held 550 workshops to provide information and guidance for implementing sustainable practices attended by nearly 14,000 representatives of winery and vineyard operations of all sizes.

“As the world’s fourth largest wine producer, California has one of the most comprehensive and widely adopted sustainability programs of its kind.  The high percentage of adoption of sustainable practices reflects the commitment of the industry to continuously improve,” said Allison Jordan, CSWA Executive Director.

New Benchmark Based on 2013 Third-Edition Sustainability Code

The 2015 Report establishes a new benchmark for statewide sustainability because it is based on results from participants self-assessing their operations since 2013 using the new, third-edition California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Workbook which was released that year.  CSWA is establishing a new baseline with the third-edition Workbook because it includes significant improvements and new information on 200 best management practices which represent the most current understanding of best practices in 15 areas of vineyard, winery and community operations.

CALIFORNIA VINEYARD DATA

The 2015 report shows that 802 vineyards representing 117,000 winegrape acres used the new third-edition Code Workbook to evaluate and improve their practices since 2013.  The data show that a majority have adopted sustainable practices for water and energy efficiency, pest management and soil health as detailed below:

 
Water Efficiency: 85% of growers used micro-irrigation systems to target irrigation, optimize water use and conservation

 

 

85%

Pest Management: 84% of growers used cultural practices to naturally manage pests, reducing need for pesticides

 

 

84%

Energy Efficiency: 82% of growers reduced energy use through water pump improvements, the largest energy saving opportunity in the vineyard

 

 

82%

Soil Health: 95% of growers used resident vegetation, cover crops and/or compost

 

95%

CALIFORNIA WINERY DATA

The 2015 report shows that 138 wineries that produce 175 million cases used the third-edition Code Workbook to evaluate and improve their practices since 2013.  A majority are adopting sustainability practices for energy, water and waste management, among other areas.

Energy Efficiency: 74% of vintners conducted an energy audit of their winery within last five years to save energy and costs

 

 

74%

Water Efficiency:  84% of vintners measured and monitored water use to manage it responsibly

 

 

84%

Waste Management: 64% of vintners separated recycled glass and had designated recycling bins at their facilities to minimize material sent to landfill

 

 

64%

CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY DATA

The livelihood of California vintners and growers depends upon the health of the environment and local communities.  The 2015 report shows that a vast majority of the state’s vintners and growers are taking action to protect wildlife, contribute to their communities and be responsive to neighbors and encourage employees to become engaged in enhancing sustainability.

Wildlife:  91% of growers allowed growth of resident or native vegetation to protect local water bodies and positively impact surrounding community

 

 

91%

Contribution: 95% of vintners volunteered or provided other contributions to enhance their local community

 

 

95%

Neighbors:  94% of growers provided neighbors with contact information and responded to community concerns

 

94%

Employees:  84% of vintners encouraged employees to provide suggestions for improving operational efficiency to enhance sustainability

 

 

84%

For full analysis of data collected since 2013 on all 200 Code Practices, view the 2015 report appendix at: http://www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/docs/2015_Report_Appendix.pdf.

Certified California Vineyards and Wineries

CSWA launched a certification program in 2010 that uses third-party auditors to verify winery and vineyard adoption and implementation of sustainable winegrowing practices.  This voluntary program, Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CCSW-Certified), is an additional offering of the CSWA Sustainable Winegrowing Program

In 2015, 483 vineyards and 91 wineries achieved CCSW-Certification.  All certified wineries and vineyards meet defined prerequisite practices that ensure key sustainability areas are addressed including soil health, water and energy, habitat, and others.  Certified wineries and vineyards undergo annual audits to maintain their certification. 

The 483 vineyards represent 102,327 CCSW-Certified winegrape acres, accounting for 17% of California’s total acres.  The 91 CCSW-Certified wineries produce 171 million cases, 64% of total cases from California.

About CSWA

Created by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG), CSWA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes environmental stewardship and social responsibility in the California wine community. 

Winners Announced for First Annual California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards

April 13, 2015   Back to Top

Accepting the 2015 California Green Medal Awards were: (L-r) Cindy DeVries for Fetzer Vineyards, Bob Torres for Trinchero Family Estates, Julie Nord for Nord Vineyards and Mike Benziger for Benziger Family Winery

Accepting the 2015 California Green Medal Awards were: (L-R) Cindy DeVries for Fetzer Vineyards, Bob Torres for Trinchero Family Estates, Julie Nord for Nord Vineyards and Mike Benziger for Benziger Family Winery.

SAN FRANCISCO — Winners of the first annual California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards were announced and honored at a lunch reception and ceremony today at University of California, Davis. The California Green Medal was developed by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), California Association of Winegrape Growers, Lodi Winegrape Commission, Napa Valley Vintners, Vineyard Team and Wine Institute as a way to showcase some of the leading wineries and vineyards committed to sustainability. More than a dozen of California's regional winery and winegrowing association partners also helped to promote the new awards which were selected by a panel of wine and sustainability experts.

Winners of the four Green Medals are as follows:

Green Medal LeaderLEADER AWARD, given to the vineyard or winery that excels in the "3 E's" of sustainability—Environmentally sound, socially Equitable and Economically viable.
WinnerFetzer Vineyards. As a true pioneer in sustainability in the wine industry, Fetzer Vineyards has been blazing a trail for earth-friendly practices since 1968. Fetzer Vineyards was the first winery in California to operate on 100% renewable energy in 1999, and is the largest U.S. producer of organic winegrapes certified by CCOF and the first Zero Waste certified wine company in the world. Energy, water, waste, vineyard inputs, packaging, recycling, and many other metrics have been measured at Fetzer since its early history. The company has a full-time sustainability manager and an eco-team made up of employees in all departments who work together to integrate sustainability innovations and activities.

Green Medal EnvironmentENVIRONMENT AWARD, given to the vineyard or winery that best demonstrates Environmental Stewardship through maximized environmental benefits from implementing sustainable practices.
WinnerBenziger Family Winery. With all of its estate properties Demeter Certified Biodynamic, this family winery created "Farming for Flavors," which was third-party certified by Stellar in 2007 before other sustainability certifications were available. Benziger also had the first Biodynamic wine in Sonoma County. The winery holds annual “Hot Topic” seminars for growers that focus on water conservation, reduction in inputs, biodiversity, soil biology, composting and efficient use of equipment. Over the past two years, Benziger has focused on using technology and industry experts to learn more about practices that guarantee the most efficient use of resources.

Green Medal CommunityCOMMUNITY AWARD, given to the vineyard or winery that is a Good Neighbor & Employer using the most innovative practices that enhance relations with employees, neighbors and/or communities. 
WinnerNord Vineyard Services. With 400 acres of family partnership vineyards at 10 locations throughout Napa Valley, Nord Vineyards recognizes that the long-term viability of the vineyards requires sustainable business and farming practices. Nord frequently invites professionals and the public to its vineyards, including hosting hundreds of neighbors as part of Napa Grapegrowers' and Napa Valley Vintners' "Afternoon in the Vineyards." Nord Vineyards owners and employees are active in the industry and in their community by serving on numerous boards, committees and task forces. They also participate in research experiments and extension of new technologies and techniques.

Green Medal BusinessBUSINESS AWARD, given to the vineyard or winery that best demonstrates Smart Business through efficiencies, cost savings and innovation from implementing sustainable practices. 
WinnerTrinchero Family Estates. Committed to environmental stewardship, charitable giving and responsibility, Trinchero Family Estates is being recognized for efficient and innovative sustainability practices that serve as a model for the wine industry. Vineyards are managed to balance desired quality, necessary inputs and water use, while wineries strive to minimize water, waste and energy use in both their Napa and Lodi facilities. Trinchero also focuses on sustainable packaging - such as light-weighted bottles and recycled glass as well as alternative packaging such as Tetra Pak and 100% recyclable and lightweight PET mini bottles. The expansion of the company's Lodi facility with state-of-the-art bottling and warehousing means being closer to the majority of its grape supply, reducing the associated truck miles and emissions.

"The new awards program provides an exciting opportunity for California growers and vintners to be recognized for their hard work and dedication to sustainability," said Allison Jordan, CSWA Executive Director. "The challenge was selecting four winners from the 39 strong applications we received from vineyards and wineries of all sizes from throughout California. The committee and judging panel were impressed by the breadth and depth of sustainable practices being used to conserve water and energy, maintain healthy soil, protect air and water quality, preserve wildlife habitat, and enhance relations with employees and communities, all while improving the economic vitality of vineyards and wineries."

The first annual California Green Medal was judged by a panel of wine and sustainability experts. They include: Peter Granoff, MS, Owner/Partner, Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant; Matthew Hoffman, PhD, Grower Program Coordinator, Lodi Winegrape Commission; Allison Jordan, Executive Director, California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance; Steve Lederer, Napa County Green Business Program and Napa County Director of Public Works; Cyril Penn, Editor in Chief, Wine Business Monthly; Rhonda Smith, Viticulture Farm Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension; Ann Thrupp, PhD, Executive Director, Berkeley Food Institute; and Beth Vukmanic Lopez, SIP Certification Manager, Vineyard Team.

Sponsors are:
Exclusive Media Sponsor, Wine Business Monthly
Platinum Sponsors, Nomacorc and SureHarvest
Gold Sponsors, Fruition Sciences and Southern California Edison
Silver Sponsors, Airstrike Bird Control and Farm Credit
Bronze Sponsors, Ag Unlimited, CC Wine Caves and Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Partnering organizations: Bay Area Green Business Program, Fish Friendly Farming, Lake County Winegrape Commission, LandSmart, Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association, Madera Vintners Association, Mendocino WineGrowers, Inc., Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association, Napa Sustainable Winegrowing Group, Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Paso Robles Wine County Alliance. Russian River Valley Winegrowers, San Luis Obispo Vintners and Growers Association, Santa Barbara County Vintners Association, Santa Cruz Mountain Winegrowers Association, Santa Rita Hills Vintners and Growers Association, Sonoma County Vintners, Sonoma County Winegrape Commission and Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association.

Visit: www.greenmedal.org for more information.

Raise a Glass to "Green" for California Wines Down to Earth Month

April 2, 2015   Back to Top

April Events and Activities Highlight
Sustainable Winegrowing Around the State

 

Fun winery events throughout California are celebrating sustainable winegrowing in April to share how vintners and growers use earth-friendly practices such as sheep to mow weeds, cover crops between vineyard rows for soil fertility and beneficial insect habitat, as well as conservation of natural resources.

 

SAN FRANCISCO — This April, get ready to raise your glass of red, white or rosé in a toast to all things “green” during the fourth-annual Down to Earth Month in California.  The eco-friendly fun lasts all month long with dozens of sustainability-focused events and activities to enjoy.

Created by Wine Institute—the association of 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses— Down to Earth Month raises awareness of California’s leadership in sustainable winegrowing and winemaking.  Wineries across the state will engage consumers, policy leaders, media and trade with active and educational festivities such as Earth Day festivals, organic wine trails, dog-friendly vineyard hikes, wildlife talks, horseback rides, eco-tours and more. 

"We created Down to Earth Month as an engaging way for wine lovers to explore California wine’s sustainability practices and the people and places behind them,” said Bobby Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute.  “It gives us the opportunity to celebrate and share the successes of our California Sustainable Winegrowing Program and help consumers and policy leaders understand our commitment to the environment.”

A state Senate and Assembly joint resolution proclaiming April as “Down to Earth” month in California has been introduced to celebrate the sustainable leadership of California wineries and winegrape growers. Vineyards and wineries representing more than 70 percent of California’s vineyard acreage and wine case production participate in the comprehensive California Sustainable Winegrowing Program, a remarkable scale of accomplishment as California is the world’s fourth-largest wine producer. 
If you’re going to be in California in April, it’s a great opportunity to immerse yourself in our world of wine and food at various events, such as:

North Coast

Mendocino County wineries are joining the Party for the Planet 2014 April 17–26, where visitors can attend organic gardening demos, enjoy musical performances, taste organic foods and wines from local purveyors, visit the amazing farmers markets and take advantage of lodging specials.  From April 1-30 in northern Sonoma County, the Green Trail of Dry Creek Valley offers a customized experience exploring the region’s certified organic and biodynamic wineries. Eat, drink and be green April 19 atCelebrate Earth Day in Green Valley, which showcases music, food, the Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs of Green Valley and a true “rock star” experience: guest speaker Kevin Jorgeson, who free climbed the 3,000-foot Dawn Wall of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. April 25, the fun-filled festival Celebrate Earth Day in Downtown Napa highlights the Napa Valley Vintner's commitment to having all their eligible members certified Napa Green by 2020. 

San Francisco South Bay/Central Coast

Who would bring an owl to a party? San Luis Obispo County wineries, that’s who! The Earth Day Food & Wine Festival on April 18 offers a fun, casual experience with more than 200 growers, vintners and chefs serving local wines and foods with music, dancing and more.  Plus the event proceeds benefit educational scholarships for relatives of farmworkers.  Paso Robles will celebrate the region’s sustainable food and wine culture with the Central Coast Earth Day Food & Wine WeekendApril 17-19. Nearby the Taste of Pismo on April 25 will offer local, sustainably grown wine and edibles at Dinosaur Caves Park overlooking the ocean in Pismo Beach.

The Santa Cruz Mountains Organic Wine Trail celebrates its earth-friendly wine region with organic wine trails, while the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association Passport Day boasts many eco-friendly barrel samples and special tasting flights on April 18.  Livermore Valley wineries are highlighting “Down to Earth” tours and tastings on April 18-19, including guided tastings and organically farmed vineyard and winery tours where visitors can learn about energy conservation (some use solar power) and discover sustainable methods for pest, soil and plant management.

California Sustainable Winegrowing

California is a world leader in sustainable winegrowing practices.  CSWA, a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization established by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers more than a decade ago, received the governor’s top environmental award for increasing adoption of sustainable winegrowing practices in California and for  initiating new educational tools and program improvements. CSWA now has 1,900 vineyards and wineries as program participants.

Nearly 80 wineries and 308 vineyards around the state have taken an extra step by earning Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing status through a third-party certification program launched by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing and other statewide and regional programs such as Bay Area Green Business Program, Fish Friendly Farming, Lodi Rules, Napa Green and Sustainability in Practice (SIP) play vital roles in the California wine community’s successful efforts to produce high quality wine that is environmentally sound, economically feasible and socially responsible.  To learn more, visit: www.discovercaliforniawines.com/sustainable-winegrowing.

In addition to sustainability goals, California wine contributes $61.5 billion to the state’s economy, attracts more than 21 million tourists annually, and generates 820,000 jobs nationwide of which 330,000 are in California, as vintners and growers keep their farms and wineries family-owned for future generations.

Explore all of the Down to Earth Month activities atwww.discovercaliforniawines.com/d2e.  And while you browse the site, enjoy a fun California Wines Green Tour video.

 

“Down to Earth” Events, Tours and Offers 
in California Wine Country
Check www.discovercaliforniawines.com for updates
 as events are being added continuously.

 

NORTH COAST

Green Trail of Dry Creek Valley
April 1-30, 2015
Time: 12:00 pm-5:00 pm
Cost: Tasting fees at participating wineries apply
Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
707/433-3031, debbie@wdcv.com 
Enjoy a special, customized experience in Dry Creek Valley to experience the area's certified organic and certified biodynamic wineries.

Rodney Strong Vineyards Earth Day Walk
April 11, 2015
Time: 3:00 pm
Cost: Free
Rodney Strong Vineyards, Sonoma County
707/431-1533, hospitality@rodneystrong.com 
Get down to Earth with our Wine-grower, Ryan Decker and learn about Rodney Strong’s sustainable farming practices.

Mendocino's Party for the Planet
April 17-26, 2015
Time: Varies
Cost: Varies
Various locations throughout Mendocino County
866/466-3636
You're invited to celebrate the “green-ness” of Mendocino County at the 4th Annual Party for the Planet.

Barra of Mendocino Organic Wine and Olive Oil Tasting
April 18, 2015
Time: 10:00 am-5:00 pm
Cost: Free
Barra of Mendocino, Redwood Valley
707/485-0322, katrina@barraofmendocino.com 
Join the family at BARRA of Mendocino in a celebration to honor Mother Earth and the rich bounty of Mendocino County.

Earth Day Celebration
April 18, 2015
Time: 11:00 am-4:00 pm
Cost: $25
Benziger Family Winery, Sonoma County 
800/989-8890, Wineclub@benziger.com 
Enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting and small bites.

Celebrate Earth Day in Green Valley
April 19, 2015
Time: 12:00 pm-3:00 pm
Cost: $55-$250
Iron Horse Vineyards, Sonoma County
707/887-1507, info@ironhorsevineyards.com 
Eat, drink and be green at this outdoor food and wine festival, showcasing the delicious Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs of Green Valley.

Prelude to Passport Dry Creek Valley
April 24, 2015
Time: Varies
Cost: $75
Venues throughout Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
info@wdcv.com 
Enjoy carefully selected wine and food pairings from Dry Creek Valley, featuring a number of sustainable, organic, or biodynamic producers.

Celebrate Earth Day in Downtown Napa
April 25, 2015
Time: 10:00 am-3:00 pm
Cost: Free
Downtown Napa, Napa Valley
707/968-4206, mnovi@napavintners.com 
Celebrate Earth Day, the Napa Valley Vintner's commitment to having all their eligible members certified Napa Green by 2020.

Earth Day at Sequoia Grove Winery
April 25, 2015
Time: 10:30 am -4:00 pm. 
Cost: $30 in advance, $35 at the door
Sequoia Grove Winery, Napa Valley
415/392-2231, erinc@cinchpr.com 
Sequoia Grove Winery's Earth Day event will feature food and special artisan wine, as well as a performance by Lee Stetson, who is best known for his portrayals of America's foremost naturalist and conservationist John Muir.

 

SAN FRANCISCO SOUTH & EAST BAYS, SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS

Eco Ride in the Santa Cruz Mountains
April 4-25, 2015
Time: Saturdays at 10 am-11 am
Cost: $219 for two ($244 value)
Cooper Garrod Estate Vineyards & Silver Mountain Vineyards
408/867-7116
ecoride@cgv.com 
Winery Eco-Ride package includes horseback rides, wine tastings, lunch with wine and vineyard tour. Email or call to confirm availability. 

Vine To Wine Class at Captain Vineyards
April 12, 2015
Time: 1:00 pm-3:00 pm
Cost: $43
Captain Vineyards, Contra Costa County
925/899-0703 
Captain Vineyards, the first green winery in Contra Costa County, wants to help you enhance your dinner party enjoyment and impress your friends!

Passport Day Santa Cruz Mountains
April 18, 2015 
Time: Varies 
Cost: $45
Wineries throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains
831/ 685-8463, contact@scmwa.com  
Four times a year the winegrowing community of the Santa Cruz Mountains comes together to celebrate the generations of farmers, vintners and families that are the roots of the Santa Cruz Mountains wine region.

Celebrate Earth Day on the Organic Wine Trail of the Santa Cruz Mountains
April 18, 2015
Time: Varies
Cost: $5-$10
memberwineries@organicwinetrail.org 
Learn about growing organic winegrapes with self-guided or guided tours, enjoy the vineyards and views, picnic and taste wine.  Wineries: Silver Mountain Vineyard, Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards, Ridge Vineyards and Alfaro Family Vineyards.

Down To Earth In Livermore Valley
April 18-19, 2015
Time: Varies
Cost: Varies
Various locations throughout Livermore Valley
925/447-9463
On April 18th and 19th, wineries across the region will highlight sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices used to craft Livermore Valley’s award-winning wines.

Sustainable Vineyard Tour at McGrail Vineyards for Down to Earth
April 19, 2015
Time: 2:00 pm
Cost: $10
McGrail Vineyards and Winery, Livermore 
925/215-0717, mcgrailvineyards@gmail.com 
Sip on a glass of Sauvignon Blanc as you tour the vineyard and learn about McGrail’s sustainable vineyard practices.

B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Bottle)
April 19, 2015
Time: 12:00 pm-4:30 pm
Cost: $9.99/bottle
Page Mill Winery, Livermore
925/456-7676, info@pagemillwinery.com 
Recycling is good, reusing is better! Bring in your old/clean 750 ml wine bottle and fill it up with Recovery Red.

 

SOUTH CENTRAL COAST

Roll Out the Barrels 25th Anniversary--A Month-Long Celebration in SLO Wine Country
April 3 - May 3, 2015
Time: Varies
Cost: Varies
Various locations throughout San Luis Obispo 
805/541-5868, info@slowine.com 
Meet the people behind the wines and discover the history, diversity, and farm-to-fork lifestyle that encompasses our coastal wine region.

Central Coast Earth Day Food & Wine Weekend
April 17-19, 2015
Time: Varies
Cost: Varies
Various locations throughout Paso Robles
kyle@vineyardteam.org 
The Earth Day Food & Wine Weekend celebrates the Paso Robles region’s sustainable food and wine culture.

Talley Vineyard’s Farm to Vineyard Luncheon
April 17, 2015
Time: 12:00 pm-2:00 pm
Cost: $55
805/489-0446 x25, kelly@talleyvineyards.com   
Talley Vineyards, San Luis Obispo County 
Enjoy a hands-on tour of Talley Farms followed by a gourmet Fresh Harvest lunch at Talley Vineyards.

Friday Wine & Cheese Pairing at Ancient Peaks
April 17, 2015
Time: 11:00 am-5:30 pm
Cost: Free with Earth Day ticket
805/365-7045, info@apwinery.com 
Ancient Peaks Winery, Paso Robles
Show your Earth Day ticket for a free wine and cheese pairing.

Central Coast Earth Day Food & Wine Main Event
April 18, 2015
Time: 1:00 pm-5:00 pm
Cost: $50-$115
Castoro Cellars, San Luis Obispo County
805/466-2288, kyle@vineyardteam.org 
The Earth Day Food and Wine Main event delivers a top quality food and wine experience paired with a casual, low-key atmosphere, all while celebrating the passionate people behind a sustainable food movement.

Wine 4 Paws
April 25-26, 2015
Time: Varies
Cost: Tasting fees apply
Various wineries throughout San Luis Obispo County
805/543-9316, info@woodshumanesociety.org 
Join us on this special weekend as we raise funds for the animals at Woods. Supporting the community is one of the principles of sustainable winegrowing, so enjoy our beautiful wine region while supporting a great cause.

Taste of Pismo 
April 25, 2015
Time: 12:00 pm-4:00 pm
Cost: $25-$50
Dinosaur Caves Park, San Luis Obispo County
805/773-4382, rochelle@pismochamber.com 
Enjoy great food, our world-class wine country, and ocean views at the 11th Annual Taste of Pismo.

Vineyard Walk and Sustainable Scavenger Hunt
April 26, 2015
Time: 10:30 am
Cost: $35
Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard, Santa Barbara County
805/688-3032
Join winemaker Karen Steinwachs on a stroll through their sustainably farmed, heritage vineyard all the while on the lookout for items on her “sustainable scavengers” list.  Wine tasting and lunch.

 

SIERRA FOOTHILLS

Down to Earth, Vineyard tours and Sustainable Wine Carafe Day
April 25, 2015
Time: 11:00 am-4:00 pm
Cost: $5 tasting fee
209/245-6177, jenae@andiswines.com 
Andis Wines, Amador County
Enjoy vineyard tours throughout and learn about the sustainable viticulture practices used at Andis Wines.

California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) Receives Governor's Top Environmental Award

January 22, 2015   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO — Governor Jerry Brown presented the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) with the 2015 Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA), the state's highest environmental honor. CSWA was recognized for its California Sustainable Winegrowing Program during a ceremony at the California Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters on Jan. 21 in Sacramento.

A GEELA recipient in 2004 and 2010, CSWA received this year's award in the category of Enhanced Environmental and Economic Leadership. This category honors prior GEELA award recipients who have "sustained exceptional leadership and demonstrated significant and robust improvements in voluntary efforts, previously recognized, which conserve California's resources, protect and enhance its environment and strengthen the economy."

CSWA, a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization established by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers more than a decade ago, was recognized for increased adoption of sustainable winegrowing practices in the state and for adding several educational tools and improvements. CSWA now has 1,900 vineyards and wineries as program participants, representing more than 70 percent of California's vineyard acreage and case shipments. It has also held 400 sustainable winegrowing workshops throughout California attended by 11,000 growers and winemakers.

"We are honored to be recognized with the Governor's Award," said Wine Institute President and CEO Robert P. (Bobby) Koch. "There is growing interest in sustainability, and CSWA is helping us to be the world leader in producing high quality grapes and wine using sustainable practices."

"This recognition is welcomed," said California Association of Winegrape Growers President John Aguirre. "CSWA has worked hard to translate the California industry's tradition of sustainability into a set of tools that help growers and vintners respond to evolving market expectations and a demanding regulatory environment."

"Vintner-grower participation in self-assessment, educational workshops and certification continues to expand," said CSWA Executive Director Allison Jordan. "This effort has been supported with CSWA releasing its third-edition Code workbook with updated best practices and an online version. Additional improvements include new tools such as the Greenhouse Gas calculator, an educational video series and a consumer-friendly Down to Earth book that illustrates sustainable winegrowing practices throughout the year."

The annual GEELA program is administered by the California Environmental Protection Agency and the Natural Resources Agency, in partnership with the Department of Food and Agriculture, Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, California Integrated Waste Management Board, and the State and Consumer Services Agency. More information about CSWA is at www.sustainablewinegrowing.org.

First Annual California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards

November 17, 2014   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO — California vineyards and wineries are encouraged to apply for the inaugural California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards. Applications are now being accepted at www.greenmedal.org. The California Green Medal was developed by California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, California Association of Winegrape Growers, Wine Institute, Lodi Winegrape Commission, Napa Valley Vintners and Vineyard Team as a way to showcase some of the leading wineries and vineyards committed to sustainability. More than a dozen regional winery and winegrowing association partners are also involved in promoting the new awards.

California vineyards and wineries that participate in any sustainability program available in California are eligible to apply for up to four award categories that will recognize outstanding achievement in sustainability:

  • Leader Award, given to the vineyard or winery that demonstrates success and innovation in all of the below three areas of sustainable winegrowing.
  • Environment Award, given to the vineyard or winery that best demonstrates Environmental Stewardship through maximized environmental benefits from implementing sustainable practices.
  • Community Award, given to the vineyard or winery that is a Good Neighbor & Employer using the most innovative practices that enhance relations with employees, neighbors and/or communities.
  • Business Award, given to the vineyard or winery that best demonstrates Smart Business through efficiencies, cost savings and innovation from implementing sustainable practices.

"The new awards program provides an exciting opportunity for California growers and vintners to be recognized for their hard work and dedication to sustainability," said Allison Jordan, CSWA Executive Director.

Applications are being accepted now through January 31, 2015. Visit:www.greenmedal.org for more information or to apply. Winners will receive a Green Medal, be recognized in widely distributed communications and honored at an awards ceremony at University of California, Davis on April 10, 2015.

The first annual California Green Medal is being judged by a panel of wine and sustainability experts. They include: Peter Granoff, MS, Owner/Partner, Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant; Matthew Hoffman, PhD, Grower Program Coordinator, Lodi Winegrape Commission; Allison Jordan, Executive Director, California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance; Cyril Penn, Editor in Chief, Wine Business Monthly; Rhonda Smith, Viticulture Farm Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension; Ann Thrupp, PhD, Executive Director, Berkeley Food Institute; Beth Vukmanic Lopez, SIP Certification Manager, Vineyard Team; and Steve Lederer, Napa County Green Business Program and Napa County Director of Public Works.

Sponsors are: Wine Business Monthly, Exclusive Media Sponsor; Nomacorc and SureHarvest, Platinum Sponsors; Fruition Sciences and Southern California Edison, Gold Sponsors; Ag Unlimited, CC Wine Caves and Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Bronze Sponsors.Partnering organizations include Bay Area Green Business Program, Fish Friendly Farming, Lake County Winegrape Commission, LandSmart, Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association, Mendocino WineGrowers, Inc., Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association, Napa Sustainable Winegrowing Group, Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Paso Robles Wine County Alliance. Russian River Valley Winegrowers, San Luis Obispo Vintners and Growers Association, Santa Barbara County Vintners Association, Santa Cruz Mountain Winegrowers Association, Santa Rita Hills Vintners and Growers Association, Sonoma County Vintners, Sonoma County Winegrape Commission and Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association.

Wine Institute Receives Drinks Business 2014 Green Award

May 7, 2014   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO – Wine Institute of California was given the 2014 Amorim Sustainability Award for a generic organization by The Drinks Business, a London-based industry trade publication.  Wine Institute established the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) with the California Association of Winegrape Growers more than a decade ago to promote wide adoption of sustainability practices in the state.  In addition to helping implement the breadth and depth of the CSWA program, Wine Institute has initiated several sustainability projects recently including: publication of a hard cover book Down to Earth: A Seasonal Tour of Sustainable Winegrowing in Californiathe launch of “Down to Earth,” an annual month-long celebration of green-themed winery events throughout California in April, a new consumer green tour video, an educational sustainability website section at discovercaliforniawines.com, publication of a sustainable water management handbook for small wineries, and a Life Cycle Assessment report and tool for California wine to reduce the carbon footprint of wine.

“We’re so honored to have our program receive international recognition by The Drinks Business for the second consecutive year,” said Allison Jordan, executive director of CSWA.  “Our California wine community has a deep commitment to responsible business and environmental practices.  The vintners and growers involved in the program represent more than 70 percent of California’s wine production and winegrape acreage.  With California as the fourth leading wine producer in the world making 90 percent of U.S. wine, the scale of the program is huge with credit belonging to thousands of grower and vintner participants who have embraced sustainability with such passion.”

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in 2003 and headquartered in San Francisco.  CSWA's mission is to ensure that the California wine community is recognized globally as the leader in sustainable winegrowing in the marketplace and public policy arena through the development and promotion of sustainable practices, tools for education and outreach, partnerships with key stakeholders, and prioritizing research.  To date, CSWA has held 250 workshops on sustainable practices attended by 11,000 participants.

California Wines get "Down to Earth" this April

April 2, 2014   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO — Whether you're a fan of red wine or white, California is betting you're going to love "green" too! This April, wine lovers can check out "green" wines at dozens of fun eco-friendly winery events and activities during the third-annual Down to Earth Month in California.

Created by Wine Institute—the association of 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses—this month-long celebration raises awareness of California's leadership in sustainable winegrowing and winemaking. Wineries across the state will engage consumers, policy leaders, media and trade withsustainably focused festivities to learn about California wine's eco-friendly practices and the people and places behind them. From Earth Day festivals and organic wine trails to dog-friendly vineyard hikes, wildlife talks, horseback rides and eco-tours, the state's wineries will highlight what it means to be green this April.

"Our California Sustainable Winegrowing Program leads the world in comprehensiveness and size with wineries and vineyards that produce nearly three-quarters of California's winegrapes and wine participating," said Bobby Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute. "Our wineries have created engaging events where consumers can learn about sustainable winegrowing and winemaking. And once again, a state Senate and Assembly joint resolution proclaiming April as "Down to Earth month in California has been introduced to celebrate the sustainable leadership of our wineries and winegrape growers."

More than 10,000 California winegrowers and winemakers have taken part in educational workshops on sustainable winegrowing and winemaking since the program's inception a decade ago, a remarkable scale of accomplishment as California is the world's fourth-largest wine producer.

Explore all of the Down to Earth Month activities at www.discovercaliforniawines.com/d2e.  And while you browse the site, enjoy a fun California Wines Green Tour video.

In addition to sustainability goals, California wine contributes $61.5 billion to the state’s economy, attracts more than 21 million tourists annually, generates 820,000 jobs nationwide of which 330,000 are in California, as vintners and growers keep their farms and wineries family owned for future generations.

California is a world leader in sustainable winegrowing practices.  The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) Code of best practices has been used by 1,800 wineries and vineyards to evaluate the sustainability of their operations, representing 72 percent of California’s winegrape acreage and 74 percent of the state’s wine shipments.  Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing and other statewide and regional programs such as Bay Area Green Business Program, Fish Friendly Farming, Lodi Rules, Napa Green and Sustainability in Practice (SIP) play vital roles in the California wine community’s successful efforts to produce high quality wine that is environmentally sound, economically feasible and socially responsible.  To learn more, visit: www.discovercaliforniawines.com/d2e.

Wine Institute Publishes Down to Earth: A New Book on California Sustainable Winegrowing

April 2, 2014   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO — Wine Institute has released a new book, Down to Earth: A Seasonal Tour of Sustainable Winegrowing in California, a consumer-friendly guide to environmentally and socially responsible practices that shows how sustainability influences California vintners and growers throughout the year as they grow and make wines. The book was written by Janet Fletcher and photographed by George Rose, both award-winning journalists.

Down to Earth coverFifteen vintners and growers are profiled in Down to Earth, and they are a sampling of the thousands who have participated in education, self-assessment and certification programs by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and other state sustainability organizations which represent more than three-quarters of California's wine production and winegrape acreage. The book also includes a dozen seasonal recipes, timed to what's fresh in the garden.

"California makes 90 percent of our nation's wine and is the fourth largest producer in the world, so the scale and scope of adoption of sustainable practices are tremendous across the state's wine regions," said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, Wine Institute President and CEO. "The stories of the vintners and growers depict the motivation and passion of our wine community in caring for people and the environment."

"Consumers like to know how their wines are grown and made," added Allison Jordan, Wine Institute Vice President of Environmental Affairs. "Down to Earth shows readers that managing for the long term makes sense for the family owned vineyards and wineries that want to pass on a thriving business to the next generation."

The 256-page book is $40 and available for purchase at www.discovercaliforniawines.com/downtoearth. Its release coincides with Wine Institute's "Down to Earth" month celebration in April when visitors can enjoy some 40 green-themed events, such as eco-tours and Earth Day parties, at wineries throughout California. See:www.discovercaliforniawines.com/d2e.

 

Reviews from the Down to Earth Book Jacket

"Down to Earth is more than a phrase in this beautiful book; it's a philosophy of what it means to be green in California wine. With regional overviews, mouthwatering recipes, and producer profiles, Janet Fletcher's compelling storytelling paired with George Rose's world-class photography combine in a seasonal feast for the mind and the eyes."
Leslie Sbrocco, Wine Consultant; Author of The Simple & Savvy Wine Guide; and Television Host, "Check Please! Bay Area"

"How wonderful to see sustainability become a mainstay in our vocabulary. Explaining a concept that can be difficult to grasp, Down to Earth speaks to the novice wine consumer about the meaning of sustainability with thoughtful language and beautiful imagery. It also speaks to the wine professional—celebrating the incredible work that our industry has achieved and reminding us of the ways in which sustainability happens all year round."
Emily Wines MS, Beverage Director, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants

"After years of following its progress, I'm delighted to see the Californian wine industry emerge as a leader in sustainable winegrowing. Down to Earth documents the journey. These stories of individuals and families who have put the sustainable ethos at the heart of their businesses should inspire wine lovers around the globe."
Sarah Kemp, Publishing Director, Decanter

"Enhancing the sustainability of agriculture is a critical and ongoing process. Down to Earth highlights some forward-thinking winegrowers who are leading the charge."
Mike Sweeney, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy of California

 

 

Note to Editors: To download a Down to Earth book press kit, go to:https://app.box.com/s/mm7sj8wvv7m0rovyub64.

Credentialed journalists and Wine Institute members requiring further information may contact the Wine Institute at communications@wineinstitute.org

Free Sustainability Workshops Offered by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance

March 4, 2014   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO – The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) in partnership with several regional winegrape grower and vintner associations is hosting a series of free Sustainable Winegrowing Workshops this spring.  These two-hour hands-on workshops assist growers and vintners in assessing the sustainability of their vineyard or winery with CSWA’s Sustainable Winegrowing Program online system and Performance Metrics tool to track their use of water, energy and applied nitrogen.  Participants can then use the data to identify areas of opportunity for enhancing practices, reducing costs and improving wine and grape quality. The workshop also provides an overview of CSWA’s Sustainable Winegrowing Program, which is based on the California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing workbook and companion online system.                 

Sustainability Assessment and/or Certification Workshop dates:

March 11, 2014 – 9:00-11:00 am –
Napa Valley Grapegrowers Office, Napa

March 18, 2014 – 9:00-11:00 am –
Petaluma Community Center, Petaluma

March 19, 2014 – 9:00-11:00 am –
DeLoach Vineyards, Russian River Valley

March 25, 2014 – 9:00-11:00 am -- Webinar

March 26, 2014 – 9:00-11:00 am –  
Valley of the Moon Winery, Glen Ellen

March 27, 2014 – 2:00-4:00 pm –
Sonoma County Winegrape Commission Office, Santa Rosa

March 28, 2014 – 9:00-11:00 am –
Simi Winery, Healdsburg

April 15, 2014 – 9:00-11:00 am –
Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, Buellton

April 16, 2014 – 9:00-11:00 am – Courtyard Marriott, Paso Robles

April 29, 2014 – 10:00-11:30 am -- Webinar

Who should attend:
Vineyard and winery owners, managers and employees; anyone who has completed a previous self-assessment or is new to using the Code workbook; anyone interested in learning more about sustainability in the wine industry.

Cost:
This is a FREE workshop for California vineyard and winery employees.

For more details, including registration information, visit the CSWA online calendar: www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/workshopcalendar.php. Contact info@sustainablewinegrowing.org for more information.

CSWA is San Francisco-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization incorporated in 2003 and established by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers to promote the benefits of sustainable winegrowing practices and enlist industry adoption.

CSWA Introduces Online Tool to Measure Vineyard Greenhouse Gas Emissions

July 19, 2013   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO – The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) has introduced an online tool for calculating greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration in California vineyards.  The tool, named the DeNitrification and DeComposition (DNDC) model for winegrapes, was developed to help winegrowers “measure to manage” to reduce input costs and emissions.  The tool is part of CSWA’s online Sustainable Winegrowing Self-Assessment and Performance Metrics system, the latter of which measures, manages and tracks energy, water and nitrogen use, and greenhouse gas emissions.  The tool was developed with partial funding from a three-year California Department of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant.

 “More than 1,400 researchers and stakeholders worldwide use the DNDC Model on over 40 agricultural crops to assess the effects of various management practices on greenhouse gas emissions,” said Allison Jordan, CSWA executive director.  “By incorporating the DNDC model into our program, growers can see more clearly how vineyard practices combine to reduce nitrogen applications, save money and minimize soil-related greenhouse gas emissions.  Avoiding excess nitrogen benefits growers’ bottom-line, contributes to wine quality and delivers better environmental outcomes.”

Jordan explained that the online Performance Metrics system offers a simplified, user-friendly version of the DNDC tool that enables winegrowers to customize the variables that are the most significant drivers of soil-related greenhouse gas emissions in vineyards.  These variables include practices such as row spacing, type of tillage, use and type of cover crop, amount of compost and amount of nitrogen applied as fertilizer.  Results help growers understand relationships between key practices and emissions, and how to improve.  For more DNDC tool information, click here.

CSWA worked with Applied GeoSolutions, UC Davis, SureHarvest, the USDA Agricultural Research Service and other project partners over several years to calibrate and validate the DNDC model for winegrapes, assess the influence of vineyard management practices on greenhouse gas emissions and create a user-friendly tool for use by California winegrowers.  To begin using the DNDC tool within the Performance Metrics site, visit https://metrics.sustainablewinegrowing.org where California participants can log in with their CSWA Username and Password or request a new Username.

About the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in 2003 by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers.  CSWA’s mission is to ensure that the California wine community is recognized globally as the leader in sustainable winegrowing in the marketplace and public policy arena through the development and promotion of sustainable practices, tools for education and outreach, partnerships with key stakeholders and prioritizing research.  In the last decade, 1,800 vineyard and winery organizations, representing more than 70 percent of California’s winegrape acreage and case production, have participated in CSWA’s Sustainable Winegrowing Program.  See: www.sustainablewinegrowing.org.  

California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) Receives Drinks Business 2013 Green Award

May 10, 2013   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO - CSWA was recognized with the Sustainability Award of the Year by The Drinks Business, an industry trade publication based in Europe.  According to the publication, its judges lauded CSWA in the generic organization category for achievements in gaining broad program participation by the state’s wineries and vineyards.  They also recognized CSWA’s “constant process of review and improvement, as well as the transparency of its reporting.”  

The Drinks Business Green Awards, in their fourth year, noted that the green agenda is increasingly important in the wine industry and that judges faced a challenge based on the quality and quantity of entries and the thorough, often imaginative commitment to sustainability.  California featured prominently in the awards receiving recognition for both its statewide sustainability initiative and for the efforts of individual companies.

CSWA was also recognized for using innovative techniques, such as an online workbook that allows vintners and growers to track their sustainability performance over time, and a video series highlighting case studies on energy efficiency and other practices which encourage wineries to learn from their peers.  Also highlighted were the group’s educational initiatives delivered at over 230 workshops on sustainable practices attended by nearly 11,000 growers and winemakers.

“We’re very pleased to receive this international recognition of our program by The Drinks Business,” said Allison Jordan, executive director of CSWA. She noted that CSWA’s program recently marked its first decade with publication of a 2012 Progress Report and the third edition of the California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Workbook and release of a new Performance Metrics tool for measuring vineyard and winery use of water, energy and applied nitrogen, and greenhouse gas emissions.

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in 2003 by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers. CSWA's mission is to ensure that the California wine community is recognized globally as the leader in sustainable winegrowing in the marketplace and public policy arena through the development and promotion of sustainable practices, tools for education and outreach, partnerships with key stakeholders, and prioritizing research.

Sustainability Resonates with Wine Consumers and Trade

May 7, 2013   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO — Two research studies sponsored by Wine Institute indicate that the sustainable and eco-friendly attributes of wine are important considerations when making purchasing decisions among key segments of wine consumers as well as the wine trade.  The research findings, presented at a Communicating Sustainability Workshop in San Francisco, indicate that eco-conscious wine consumers and the trade are interested in information about sustainable and environmentally friendly practices in wineries and vineyards.

For the consumer research, Wine Institute was a sponsor of the Natural Marketing Institute’s 11th annual LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) Consumer Trends DatabaseTM, which quantifies the size of the consumer market for environmentally and socially responsible products and specifically segmented adult wine consumers.  Among the key findings were that 34% of wine consumers across all segments of the survey consider environmental/sustainable attributes when making wine purchases.  Also, 66% of these wine consumers said they identify the eco-friendly, sustainable attributes of wine at the point of purchase via labels and information on the shelf or in store.  Of the LOHAS consumers – the greenest segment of consumers who describe themselves as active stewards of the environment and buyers of eco-friendly, socially responsible products – 43% reported purchasing wine in the past three months, higher than the general adult population, and 52% of LOHAS consider the environmental attributes of their wine selections compared to 34% of all wine consumers.

Wine Institute also partnered with PE INTERNATIONAL, Inc., a sustainability consulting firm, to conduct a phone/online survey of 59 trade respondents.  Trade survey respondents included major retail and restaurant chains as well as distributor, regional and individual operations.  Across all of trade segments, 37% said sustainable attributes were frequently or very frequently a factor in wine selection while 86% indicated that they were at least occasionally a factor in wine selection.  Most respondents said they relied on winery marketing materials or testimony to identify wines with sustainable attributes, followed closely by third-party certification seals/statements and information on wine labels.  Most respondents identified customer requests as well as their own personal and/or organizational values as reasons for selecting wines with sustainable attributes.

“Many consumers and the trade are showing interest in sustainably grown and produced wines,” said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute.  “With 1,800 California winegrape growers and winemakers participating in the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) program, representing more than 70 percent of the state’s wine acreage and case production, it’s clear that we are committed to sustainable practices.”

“Consumers with sustainable lifestyles are significantly more likely to drink wine, according to the LOHAS research,” said Allison Jordan, Executive Director of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.  “As an industry, and as individual producers, we have an opportunity to communicate our sustainable practices to consumers in a meaningful way.”

Speakers representing the wine trade at the Communicating Sustainability Workshop echoed the findings of the research.  “Thirty percent of the wines we offer are sustainable, organic or biodynamic,” said Emily Wines, MS, Director of Wines, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, speaking at the workshop.  “Customers care about sustainability and they look to retailers and restaurateurs to do the research and make those wines available.”

Putting a seal, logo or information about sustainable practices on the wine bottle was encouraged by all workshop trade speakers including Peter Granoff, MS, Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, and Matthew Colling, CSW, Key Account Specialist with American Wines & Spirits.  This sentiment is supported by the majority of respondents to the trade survey who indicated that sustainability certification programs are helpful (71%), as are seals on bottles (81%).  The survey also revealed that Biodynamic (63%), USDA Organic (53%) and California Certified Sustainable Wine (CCSW-Certified) (49%) are the certifications most frequently associated with wines offered by the trade responding to the survey.

A summary of the trade and consumer surveys sponsored by Wine Institute can be downloaded here.

As the fourth largest wine producer worldwide, California is a global leader in sustainable winegrowing practices.  Through participation in the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program, the state has one of the most widely adopted sustainable winegrowing programs in the world in terms of wine acreage and case production.  Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing and other statewide and regional programs such as Bay Area Green Business Program, Fish Friendly Farming, Lodi Rules, Napa Green and Sustainability in Practice (SIP) play an important role in the California wine community’s efforts to produce high quality wine that is environmentally sound, socially equitable and economically feasible.  To learn more, visit: www.discovercaliforniawines.com/sustainable-winegrowing.

New California Wines Green Tour Video Celebrates Down to Earth Month in April

April 2, 2013   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO — Wine Institute has released a new video, “California Wines Green Tour,” at www.discovercaliforniawines.com/media-trade/videos, featuring a traveler enjoying the state’s beautiful wine regions while experiencing sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices.  In Green Tour, viewers get a snapshot of what sustainable winegrowing means--from using solar energy and preserving water, to planting cover crops between vine rows for soil health and attracting beneficial insects.  The traveler also learns about how sheep graze on vineyard weeds and owls prey on vineyard pests.  All of the practices have the goal of enhancing environmental stewardship and social responsibility as well as grape and wine quality.

The video release coincides with California’s Down to Earth Month in April when dozens of wineries across the state are celebrating with special green-themed events, eco-tours and offers for visitors.  See the calendar listings at: www.discovercaliforniawines.com/d2e.

Among the events that visitors can enjoy are San Luis Obispo County’s FarmFest on the Coast on April 26-27 which will offer local, sustainably grown wine and edibles at Dinosaur Caves Park overlooking the ocean in Pismo Beach.  Central Coast wineries are also offering an Earth Day Food & Wine Festival with more than 200 growers, vintners and chefs serving local wines and foods with music, dancing and more April 20.  The Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association Passport Day celebrates its earth-friendly wine region with organic wine trails, barrel samples and special tasting flights on April 20 to support the Save Our Shores nonprofit dedicated to clean beaches.  Livermore Valley wineries are highlighting sustainable winegrowing and winemaking with special “Down to Earth” tours and tastings April 21 and at Down to Earth with Napa Green Certified Wineries, one can learn about green design, conservation and creative re-use as well as attend related tasting events April 19-21.  Mendocino wineries are offering Where the Earth IS First Fest April 19-28 where visitors will enjoy a host of eco-friendly activities and organic wine and food.  From April 1-30 in Northern Sonoma County, the Green Trail of Dry Creek Valley offers a special, customized experience exploring the region’s certified organic and certified biodynamic wineries. 

Wine Institute, the association of 1,000 California wineries and wine-related businesses, co-founded the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) with California growers a decade ago to advance the California wine industry’s adoption of earth-friendly practices.  To date, 1,800 vineyard and winery organizations participate in CSWA’s sustainability program and they represent more than 70 percent of California’s winegrape acreage and case production.  As the world’s fourth leading wine producer, California is a leader in sustainable winegrowing with one of the most comprehensive and widely adopted sustainability programs in the world.

CSWA Releases 2012 Progress Report, Third Edition Sustainable Winegrowing Workbook

January 22, 2013   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO – Marking a decade since its establishment, the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) has issued its 2012 Progress Report, highlighting the release of its third edition California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Workbook, updated CSWA program participation numbers, and an overview of a new Performance Metrics tool measuring vineyard and winery use of water, energy and applied nitrogen, and greenhouse gas emissions related to energy use. For a complete copy of the 2012 CSWA Progress Report, go to www.sustainablewinegrowing.org.

Since 2002, CSWA’s Code Workbook has been used by 1,800 vineyard and winery organizations to self-assess their operations, representing 72 percent of California’s winegrape acreage (389,375 acres) and 74 percent of its case production (189 million cases). In addition, CSWA has held 232 educational workshops attended by 10,737 participants.

“Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers published the Code and established CSWA to position California’s wine community as a world leader in sustainability. With more than 70 percent of California’s winegrape acreage and case production engaged in the CSWA program, the industry has bolstered its environmental and sustainability credentials in the public policy and marketplace arenas, including the competitive global market,” said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, president and CEO of Wine Institute. “The scale of this accomplishment is remarkable, as California is the world’s fourth largest wine producer.”

“A tremendous amount of thought, time and effort went into revising the Code Workbook,” said John Aguirre, president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers. “CSWA involved 50 growers and vintners in 35 meetings over two years to review and revise the workbook. As a result, vineyards and wineries of all sizes throughout the state will find the workbook’s updated and revised best practices and resources even more relevant and effective.”

Code Workbook

The third edition Code Workbook is the centerpiece of the CSWA program and covers a broad range of sustainable practices used in vineyard and winery operations. The Workbook has 14 chapters encompassing best practices from the grape to glass: viticulture, soil management, vineyard water management, pest management, wine quality, ecosystem management, energy efficiency, winery water conservation and quality, material handling, solid waste reduction and management, environmentally preferable purchasing, human resources, neighbors and community and air quality.

Building on major trends and successful regional efforts, including the first five viticulture chapters of the Lodi Winegrower’s Workbook, the Code was first published in 2002 to help all California vintners and growers continuously improve and adopt sustainable practices. Using a “Cycle of Continuous Improvement,” participants self-assess their operations, interpret their performance, develop actions plans to improve, implement changes and reassess.

Code Workbooks will be provided at no charge to California vintners and growers who attend upcoming workshops listed at www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/workshopcalendar.php. A copy can also be requested from CSWA at www.sustainablewinegrowing.org or info@sustainablewinegrowing.org.

“The Code Workbook is a wonderful tool that allows participants to expand sustainable practices according to their company priorities and diverse regional growing conditions,” said Allison Jordan, executive director of CSWA. “CSWA’s goal is for vineyards and wineries that represent 80 percent of California’s winegrapes and wines to use the Code Workbook to self-assess their operations by 2015.”

Targeted Education

CSWA collaborates with regional grower and vintner organizations throughout the state to develop and hold educational events that target the most challenging areas in specific regions as part of the “Cycle of Continuous Improvement.” CSWA has held the 232 workshops on topics such as air and water quality protection, biodiversity and habitat conservation, pest management and more.

CSWA also partnered with Pacific Gas and Electric to hold more than 50 workshops focused on energy conservation and efficiency for California wineries and vineyards, attended by 1,400 wine industry members. The two organizations produced a video series showcasing case studies on energy efficiency measures undertaken by wineries and vineyards at: www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/media.php.

Performance Metrics

In March 2012, CSWA released an online tool to help California growers and vintners measure, track and improve their use of natural resources over time. The initial set of metrics include: water and energy use in vineyards and wineries, greenhouse gas emissions in vineyards and wineries, and applied nitrogen use in vineyards. Participants will be able to compare their natural resource use from year to year and measure outcomes to changed practices. Once a robust set of metrics results is aggregated, data will be carefully analyzed to determine if reasonable collective (e.g. statewide and/or regional) baselines can be generated for industry wide benchmarking and target-setting. Metric results will also be used to determine priorities and to drive educational programs.

Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing

In January 2010, CSWA introduced Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CCSW-Certified), a third-party certification option for California vineyards and wineries based on the Code Workbook. CSWA developed the third-party certification program to enhance transparency and credibility in the public policy and market arenas, and provide a way for vintners and growers to verify and communicate their continuous improvement in the adoption of sustainable practices. CCSW-Certified requires an accredited auditor to verify that the vineyard and/or winery conducts an annual self-assessment and meets 50 vineyard and 32 winery prerequisites.

As of October 2012, CSWA has given CCSW-Certification to 56 wineries and 178 vineyards (more than 12 percent of statewide winegrape acreage), and countless others have been certified by Bay Area Green Business, Biodynamic®, Fish Friendly Farming, Lodi Rules, Napa Green, Organic and SIP-Certified. See www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/certifiedparticipants.php for a list of certified vineyards and wineries.

About the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in 2003 by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers. CSWA’s mission is to ensure that the California wine community is recognized globally as the leader in sustainable winegrowing in the marketplace and public policy arena through the development and promotion of sustainable practices, tools for education and outreach, partnerships with key stakeholders, and prioritizing research. The result of this work will be a healthier environment, stronger communities, and vibrant businesses.

About Wine Institute

Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the premier voice effectively representing wine worldwide. With membership of 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses, the organization initiates and advocates public policy that enhances the ability to responsibly produce, promote, and enjoy wine. Wine Institute works to bolster the economic and environmental health of the state and its communities by encouraging sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices. The membership represents 85 percent of U.S. wine production and 90 percent of U.S. wine exports.

About California Association of Winegrape Growers

Established in 1974, the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) provides industry leadership to advocate for public policies, research and education programs, sustainable farming practices and trade positions to improve the viability of winegrape growing as an essential contributor to California’s economy, culture, and landscape. CAWG represents the growers of more than 60 percent of the gross grape tonnage crushed for wine and concentrate in California.

(Editors: photos available upon request by contacting communications@wineinstitute.org.)

CSWA prohibits discrimination in its programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability and marital or familial status. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact communications@wineinstitute.org.

 

CSWA Launches New Video Series on Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Winegrowing Case Studies

June 6, 2012   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO – The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) has launched a new video series to highlight case studies on energy efficiency and other sustainable winegrowing practices. The first four videos can be viewed at: www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/media.php, and cover efficient refrigeration, pipe insulation, aerator systems, and variable frequency drives for pumps that are being employed by Jordan Vineyard & Winery, Korbel Champagne Cellars, and Imagery Estate Winery. The fourth video covers planning and building an energy efficient winery at LangeTwins Family Winery & Vineyards.

“Through sustainability we are promoting the adoption of good winegrowing practices that deliver beneficial outcomes for business profitability, the environment and our communities, and peer-to-peer exchange of information has proven to be an effective way for growers and vintners to learn about these practices,” said Allison Jordan, executive director of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. “The videos feature California winery and vineyard professionals who provide details on using the practices and the cost and energy savings from installing new, efficient equipment.”

A new video will be posted at the beginning of each month so viewers can check back on the CSWA website often to learn about additional case studies on effective peer practices. Upcoming videos will cover the benefits of using solar thermal, measuring and tracking resource use to increase sustainability, employee incentives to promote sustainability throughout the organization, among other topics.

The collaboration that began in the fall of 2005 between CSWA and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) led to the development of workshops and educational materials focused on energy conservation and efficiency for California wineries and vineyards. In 2008, the workshops were expanded to include green building design, climate protection through reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from energy use, and winery process water and related energy. These workshops provided participants with information on PG&E rebates and incentives, while introducing a variety of PG&E online resources and tools to help reduce energy use and thereby improve the sustainability of their operations.

“PG&E commends California’s vintners and growers for their continued progress in adopting energy efficiency improvements,” said Tom Wilson, manager of customer energy solutions for PG&E. “Their commitment to preserving the environment and ensuring that their industry remains viable for generations to come is a valuable contribution to lowering emissions and fighting climate change.”

The collaboration between CSWA and PG&E has been effective. Since the fall of 2005, the two organizations have held 45 energy management workshops attended by more than 1,300 wine industry members from PG&E’s service area. During this period, PG&E recorded an increase in the number of annual energy-efficiency projects at California wineries and vineyards. Since 2001, 520 energy-efficiency projects resulted from 350 California wineries receiving about $37.6 million in PG&E rebates, saving over 200,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity and more than 4,000 therms of natural gas. This has resulted in eliminating more than 76,990 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of removing 12,918 cars off the road for one year.

Energy efficiency is one of 14 sustainable winegrowing areas that CSWA promotes through its Sustainable Winegrowing Program and Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices self-assessment workbook that addresses 227 best practices. In its 2009 Sustainability Report, CSWA reported marked improvement of Energy Efficiency scores since the 2004 baseline report, with vineyards increasing average scores in 7 out of 7 energy efficiency practices and vintners increasing average scores in 7 out of 10 criteria. See: www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/2009sustainabilityreport.php to download the report.

CSWA is a San Francisco-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization incorporated in 2003, created by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers to promote the benefits of sustainable winegrowing practices, enlist industry commitment and assist in implementing its sustainable winegrowing program.

California Wines Get "Down to Earth" with New April Celebration

March 26, 2012   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO — A new, month-long celebration, "California Wines: Down to Earth" shines a spotlight on sustainability. From "green wine trails" and Earth Day wine and food festivals to special eco-tours in the vineyard, California’s winemakers and winegrowers are offering a wide variety of fun, sustainably-focused festivities throughout the month of April, which can be found at www.discovercaliforniawines.com/d2e.

"Down to Earth" month events will be engaging and meaningful experiences that let wine lovers get down to earth—connecting to the land and the people who make the wines they enjoy in a manner that benefits the environment and the community.

“These experiences make April a great time to learn about our California wines and the environmentally and community-friendly practices used to grow and produce them,” said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, president and CEO of Wine Institute. “More than two-thirds of California’s winegrape growers and winemakers have adopted our sustainable program and participation is increasing, making ours one of the most widely adopted in the wine world.”

Wine Institute created “California Wines: Down to Earth” month to highlight California’s leadership in environmentally and socially responsible winegrowing and winemaking practices—and the people and places behind them. The campaign—held the same month as Earth Day—is designed to inform and engage policy leaders, media, wine trade and consumers about the California wine community’s major commitment to environmental and community stewardship.

“Sustainability is a vital part of the long-term future of California wine which contributes to California’s economy, attracts 20 million tourists annually, generates 820,000 jobs nationwide of which 330,000 are in California, and allows vintners and growers to pass on their wineries and farms to future generations,” said Koch.

California is a world leader in sustainable winegrowing practices. The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) program has 1,700 wineries and vineyards that have evaluated the sustainability of their operations with CSWA’s Code of best practices—representing 70 percent of California’s wine acreage and 65 percent of the state’s wine shipments. Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing and other statewide and regional programs such as Fish Friendly Farming, Bay Area Green Business Program, Lodi Rules, Napa Green and Sustainability in Practice (SIP) play an important role in the California wine community’s efforts to produce high quality wine that is environmentally sound, economically feasible and socially equitable. To learn more, visit: www.discovercaliforniawines.com/d2e.

CSWA Introduces Performance Metrics to Help Growers and Vintners Measure Water and Energy Use

March 19, 2012   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO – The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) introduced a new online Performance Metrics tool to complement its Sustainable Winegrowing Program. Performance Metrics, the measurable outcomes of business practices, are already used by growers and vintners to gauge their economic success, such as farming costs per acre/ton of grapes or production cost per bottle/case of wine. This project will provide tools that enable growers and vintners to calculate, manage and track improvement of performance with a broader set of sustainability metrics. It will also help identify areas to optimize operations and cut costs.

CSWA’s initial set of metrics, to be piloted in 2012, includes water and energy use in vineyards and wineries, and greenhouse gas emissions related to energy use. These metrics were selected by CSWA’s Sustainable Winegrowing Joint Committee, comprised of 50 growers and vintners from throughout the California wine industry, because they met specific criteria, such as economic and environmental impact, data availability, ease of use, and state of the science. With matching funds from a U.S. Department of Agriculture Conservation Innovation Grant, CSWA has developed an online Performance Metrics calculator. Growers and vintners can confidentially track and store their metrics data and access associated educational information in the secure online system. Participants can compare their metrics from year to year and, eventually, link measurable outcomes to changed practices. The new online tool is part of CSWA’s existing free online system that also includes a sustainable winegrowing self-assessment.

Once enough data is compiled, CSWA will use the aggregated data to identify opportunities to assist industry operators through education and technical support to gain better performance through reduced use of water and energy, and achieve lower GHG emissions related to energy use. Additional metrics may be developed in the future with guidance from the Sustainable Winegrowing Joint Committee. Workshops for calculating metrics online are available starting in March 2012. For information on workshop dates, go to http://www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/workshopcalendar.php.

The use of performance metrics to enhance the effectiveness of sustainability initiatives in all industry sectors, including agriculture, is increasingly common. The online Performance Metrics calculator will allow operators to measure and track the effect of specific sustainability practices, which is essential to developing a business case for sustainability.

"California wine is committed to a leadership role in sustainability. These important measurement tools enable farming operations and companies of all sizes to more effectively improve sustainability performance and to ‘manage what they measure,’” said Allison Jordan, executive director of CSWA. “For growers and vintners, relating and tracking both practices and measurable outcomes helps prioritize vineyard or winery plans for greatest impact and operational efficiency – reducing inputs, saving money and minimizing adverse environmental and human impacts."

Jordan explained that the data can help vintners and growers not only prioritize operational efficiencies, but also address increasing market requests for product information. The data could also potentially help vintners and growers take advantage of developing financial incentives. With the addition of metrics to sustainable practices information, the industry will have an opportunity to quantify and describe the benefits of the Sustainable Winegrowing Program. CSWA is a San Francisco-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization incorporated in 2003 created by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers to promote and implement the sustainable winegrowing program. CSWA encourages adoption of vineyard and winery practices that are sensitive to the environment, responsive to the needs and interests of society-at-large, and economically feasible to implement and maintain. Visit: www.sustainablewinegrowing.org.

California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance Recieves California's Top Environmental Award

November 16, 2010   Back to Top



SAN FRANCISCO – Governor Schwarzenegger honored the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) with the 2010 Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA), the state’s highest environmental honor, for the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program during a ceremony at the Governors’ Global Climate Summit 3 yesterday at the University of California, Davis Mondavi Center Global Pavilion.  A 2004 GEELA recipient, CSWA received this year’s award in the category of Enhanced Environmental and Economic Leadership.   This category honors prior GEELA award recipients who have sustained exceptional leadership and demonstrate significant and robust improvements in voluntary efforts previously recognized, which conserve California’s resources, protect and enhance the environment and strengthen the economy. 

CSWA is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization established by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers eight years ago to support widespread adoption of sustainable winegrowing practices.  The program has broad industry participation with 1,566 vineyard and winery organizations, representing 68% of California’s vineyard acreage and 63% of the state’s 240 million case shipments evaluating their operations with CSWA’s Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices workbook.  CSWA has held nearly 400 sustainable winegrowing workshops throughout California since the inception of its program with more than 9,200 growers and winemakers attending the workshops. 

“California’s vintners and growers have embraced our program for the long-term viability of their family businesses and local communities,” said Wine Institute President and CEO Robert P. (Bobby) Koch.  “Our goal is to advance the California wine industry as a world leader in sustainable winegrowing and to continue contributing to the state’s economy and its appeal as a place to work and visit.”

“The GEELA Award is a high honor for CSWA and we welcome recognition of the tremendous strides made by California winegrape growers toward realizing the promise of sustainability,” said California Association of Winegrape Growers President John Aguirre.

 “A highlight of CSWA’s recent progress was the introduction of a voluntary third-party certification for our sustainable winegrowing program launched earlier this year,” said CSWA Executive Director Allison Jordan.  “With a majority of California’s wine community already involved in CSWA’s program, the new certification option is a natural evolution for those businesses that want to take their participation to the next step by verifying their continuous improvement in sustainability.  In addition, CSWA has documented improvement in a majority of the 227 practices included in the Code workbook in the 2009 California Wine Community Sustainability Report.”

The annual GEELA program is administered by the California Environmental Protection Agency and the Natural Resources Agency, in partnership with the Department of Food and Agriculture, Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, California Integrated Waste Management Board, and the State and Consumer Services Agency.  More information about CSWA is at www.sustainablewinegrowing.org.

Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing Wineries Support Taste of the Nation Event April 29 to End Childhood Hunger

April 22, 2010   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO – Nine California wineries, recently certified by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), will support efforts to end childhood hunger at Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation event in San Francisco at AT&T Park on Thursday April 29.  Top restaurant chefs will join the participating wineries and mixologists to showcase the Bay Area’s outstanding wine and food.  Event and ticket information is at http://strength.org/sanfrancisco.

Certified wineries participating in this year’s Taste of the Nation San Francisco event include: Clos LaChance Wines, Concannon Vineyard, Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards, Frei Brothers Winery, Goldeneye Winery, The Hess Collection, Honig Vineyard & Winery, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, and Rodney Strong Wine Estates.  The wineries will be represented together at the tasting to share information about certified sustainable winegrowing with the consumers, chefs, sommeliers and beverage directors in attendance. 

Charitable contributions are part of the wine industry’s commitment to social responsibility as well as environmental stewardship.  These certified wineries are reflective of the multitude of California wineries that collectively make an estimated $102 million in charitable contributions each year.

CSWA, established by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers in 2002 to promote sustainable winegrowing statewide, added its new certification to the program in January of 2010.  Open to all California wineries and vineyards as a voluntary option, Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing requires applicants to undergo a third-party audit to verify their “process of continuous improvement” in increasingly adopting sustainable winegrowing practices.  They must meet 58 prerequisite criteria to be eligible for the program, assess winery and/or vineyard operations, create and implement an annual action plan and show improvement over time.  To date, 17 companies have received the new certification for some or all of their vineyards and winery operations, and now many more wineries and vineyards are in the process of seeking certification.  

To date, 1,566 vineyard and winery organizations representing 68.1 percent of California’s 526,000 wine acres and 62.5 percent of the state’s 240 million case shipments have evaluated their vineyards and wineries with CSWA’s Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices Self-Assessment Workbook.  The Code serves as the basis for the new voluntary certification component of the program, and continues to serve as an educational tool for wineries and vineyards throughout the state who do not wish to pursue certification. 

CSWA represents the only industry worldwide to measure and publicly report on the adoption of sustainable practices.  To view its 2009 report, see:

www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/sustainabilityreports.php.  To view press clips about the introduction of Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing, see:  http://www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/cswa_compilation.php. 

SAN FRANCISCO – Nine California wineries, recently certified by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), will support efforts to end childhood hunger at Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation event in San Francisco at AT&T Park on Thursday April 29.  Top restaurant chefs will join the participating wineries and mixologists to showcase the Bay Area’s outstanding wine and food.  Event and ticket information is at http://strength.org/sanfrancisco.

Certified wineries participating in this year’s Taste of the Nation San Francisco event include: Clos LaChance Wines, Concannon Vineyard, Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards, Frei Brothers Winery, Goldeneye Winery, The Hess Collection, Honig Vineyard & Winery, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, and Rodney Strong Wine Estates.  The wineries will be represented together at the tasting to share information about certified sustainable winegrowing with the consumers, chefs, sommeliers and beverage directors in attendance. 

Charitable contributions are part of the wine industry’s commitment to social responsibility as well as environmental stewardship.  These certified wineries are reflective of the multitude of California wineries that collectively make an estimated $102 million in charitable contributions each year.

CSWA, established by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers in 2002 to promote sustainable winegrowing statewide, added its new certification to the program in January of 2010.  Open to all California wineries and vineyards as a voluntary option, Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing requires applicants to undergo a third-party audit to verify their “process of continuous improvement” in increasingly adopting sustainable winegrowing practices.  They must meet 58 prerequisite criteria to be eligible for the program, assess winery and/or vineyard operations, create and implement an annual action plan and show improvement over time.  To date, 17 companies have received the new certification for some or all of their vineyards and winery operations, and now many more wineries and vineyards are in the process of seeking certification.  

To date, 1,566 vineyard and winery organizations representing 68.1 percent of California’s 526,000 wine acres and 62.5 percent of the state’s 240 million case shipments have evaluated their vineyards and wineries with CSWA’s Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices Self-Assessment Workbook.  The Code serves as the basis for the new voluntary certification component of the program, and continues to serve as an educational tool for wineries and vineyards throughout the state who do not wish to pursue certification. 

CSWA represents the only industry worldwide to measure and publicly report on the adoption of sustainable practices.  To view its 2009 report, see:

www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/sustainabilityreports.php.  To view press clips about the introduction of Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing, see:  http://www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/cswa_compilation.php.

CALIFORNIA SUSTAINABLE WINEGROWING ALLIANCE LAUNCHES THIRD-PARTY CERTIFICATION PROGRAM: 2010 Sustainable Winegrowing Progress Report Also Released

January 13, 2010   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCOThe California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) announced today the introduction of a statewide certification program that provides third-party verification of a winery or vineyard’s adherence to a "process of continuous improvement" in the adoption and implementation of sustainable winegrowing practices.  The news was shared at a morning press conference at the Merchant’s Exchange Building in San Francisco.  Open to all California wineries and vineyards as a voluntary option, CSWA’s new program, Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing, requires applicants to meet 58 prerequisite criteria to be eligible for the program, assess winery and/or vineyard operations, create and implement an annual action plan and show improvement over time.

The goals of the new certification program are to enhance transparency, encourage statewide participation and advance the entire California wine industry toward best practices in environmental stewardship, conservation of natural resources and socially equitable business practices.  Three years in the making, the certification program is the first statewide program available to both wineries and vineyards.

In addition, CSWA released its 2009 Wine Community Sustainability Report measuring the California wine industry’s adoption over five years of 227 best management practices from the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices Self-Assessment Workbook

“Third-party certification helps California’s wine community speed efforts to create a healthier environment, stronger communities and vibrant businesses,” said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, Wine Institute President and CEO.  “The program reflects the California wine community’s commitment to continually produce the finest quality wine and grapes with practices that are environmentally and socially responsible.”

“The scale on which California’s wine community is adopting and expanding sustainable practices is truly impressive, as the state is the fourth leading wine producer in the world,” said California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) Board Chairman Kim Ledbetter Bronson of Vino Farms in Lodi.  “CSWA’s mission is to bring recognition to the California wine industry as a change leader in the global marketplace and serve as a model for other industries.”

To date, 1,566 vineyard and winery organizations representing 68.1 percent of California’s 526,000 wine acres and 62.5 percent of the state’s 240 million case shipments have evaluated their vineyards and wineries with CSWA’s Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices Self-Assessment Workbook.  Wine Institute and CAWG established the Sustainable Winegrowing Program in 2002 and incorporated CSWA a year later as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to continue implementing the program.

“When you discuss sustainability within the California wine community, it is not just a statement of a program but an imbedded philosophy that we live by each and every day,” said CSWA Board Chairman Chris Savage, Senior Director of Environmental Affairs at E. & J. Gallo Winery.  “It is the commitment to this philosophy and the very positive impact it has on our businesses that will ensure the continued growth of the California wine industry long into the future.” 

Certification Process

            To be eligible for the certification program, participants meet a set of 58 prerequisites that are among the 227 best management practices in the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices Self-Assessment Workbook.  The prerequisites were established to ensure the integrity of the certification program, while the “process of continuous improvement” enables broad participation of the California wine industry and ensures progress towards increasingly sustainable practices.  The prerequisites include practices that protect air and water quality, conserve water, promote energy efficiency and reduced pesticide use, and preserve ecosystems and animal habitat, among many others.  Applicants then self-assess their winery and/or vineyard operations against the best management practices in the Code workbook and develop annual action plans and implement improvements.  CSWA offers educational workshops, resources and tools to assist wineries and growers through these various stages.

            The certification program then verifies a winery and/or vineyard’s assessment results through a third-party auditor.  To retain their certification, participants undergo annual audits to verify that winery/vineyard self-assessments and action plans are updated annually, and that their operations show improvement.  Onsite audits take place the first year and then every third year after that, and involve activities such as internal inspections and verification of corrective and preventative action processes. 

“With a majority of our industry already involved in CSWA’s Sustainable Winegrowing Program, the new certification option evolved as the appropriate next step,” said CSWA Executive Director Allison Jordan.  “Every organization is at a different point in the sustainability journey so our program allows businesses to use their own baselines to determine a set of goals based on their region, operation and other factors, and then focus their resources on the practices that will make the most difference for their company, the environment and the community, continually improving year after year.”

Industry-wide Performance Metrics Being Developed

            While process-based certification is the approach that will be used at the launch of the program, CSWA is initiating a project to develop industry-wide metrics to measure and track sustainability performance.  CSWA will develop metrics for water and energy efficiency, greenhouse gas intensity, and several others to be determined in order to baseline the industry’s significant impacts and set targets for improvement.  Once the metrics are in place, they will tie into the certification program and certified participants will need to consider industry-wide targets when creating action plans.  The metrics will also focus on industry efforts around best management practice development and sustainability tool creation.

Communicating Certification and Sustainability

            Certified participants will be able to use a logo and/or claims on certified company web sites, secondary marketing materials and in certified winery facilities or vineyards.  CSWA will also list certified wineries and vineyards on the CSWA web site.  Because of current eco-label protocols and discussions by both industry and government on this issue, use of logo and claims on wine bottles is not permitted at this time.

            Wineries and vineyards can still participate in CSWA’s Sustainable Winegrowing Program without applying for certification.  They can complete self-assessments, attend workshops and communicate that they participate in the educational Sustainable Winegrowing Program.

Relationship with Other Programs
         
CSWA is also working with other certification programs to ensure that CSWA certification is complementary with existing winegrowing certification programs and that it is cost-effective to participate in multiple programs.   

Certified Pilot Program Vineyard and Winery Operations

Seventeen companies have received certification for some or all of their vineyard and winery operations after participating in a pilot program to test the certification requirements and offer feedback.  They are: Clos LaChance Wines; Concannon Vineyard/Concannon Winery; Constellation Wines U.S.; Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards; Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines; Fetzer Vineyards/Bonterra Vineyards; E. & J. Gallo Winery; Goldeneye Winery; The Hess Collection; Honig Vineyard & Winery; J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines; Kunde Family Estate; Meridian Vineyards/Taz Vineyards; Monterey Pacific, Inc.; Roberts Vineyard Services; Rodney Strong Wine Estates; and Vino Farms.

2009 WINE COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY REPORT

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance also presented its 2009 Wine Community Sustainability Report at the January 13 launch event in San Francisco, indicating that most of the 2004 goals have been achieved or significant progress has been made. 

For participants who have self-assessed their operations against the 227 best management practices in 14 areas from the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Self-Assessment Workbook, the 2009 report indicates that a majority of the 227 practices showed an improvement in average self-assessment scores since the 2004 report.  The strengths of the state’s industry are practices for viticulture, soil management and ecosystem management.  Areas identified as opportunities for improvement include energy efficiency, materials handling, waste reduction and environmentally preferred purchasing.  Practices receiving scores in the middle ground are vineyard water management, pest management, winery water conservation and quality, human resources, neighbors and community, and air quality.

CSWA has increased participation in its Sustainable Winegrowing Program.  The 1,566 California vineyard and winery organizations in the Sustainable Winegrowing Program represent a 66 percent increase in the number of wine businesses participating since the 2004 Sustainability Report.  Since the program’s launch in 2002, it has held 200 self-assessment workshops and 184 educational events with 9,239 workshop attendees.
Vineyard Data Comparison

 

2004

2009

 

Number of Distinct Vineyard Organizations

813

1,237

 

Total Vineyard Acres Farmed by the 1,237 Organizations

223,971

358,121

(68.1% of 526,000 total statewide acres)

 Winery Data Comparison

 

2004

2009

 

Number of Distinct Winery Organizations

128

329

 

Total Winery Cases Produced by 329 Organizations

145.6M

150M

(62.5% of 240 million total statewide cases)

             In addition to releasing a second edition and web-based version of the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Self-Assessment Workbook in 2006 and targeted education events, CSWA has developed new resources and tools to further disseminate useful information on sustainable winegrowing practices, including the following, all of which are available online at www.sustainablewinegrowing.org.

  • Sustainable Winegrowing Program Web Site
  • Sustainable Winegrowing Highlight Newsletters
  • International Wine Industry Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol and Accounting Tool
  • Biodiversity Conservation Practices in California Vineyards: Learning from Experiences
  • Comprehensive Guide to Sustainable Management of Winery Water and Associated Energy 
  • Reducing Risks through Sustainable Winegrowing: A Growers’ Guide
  • Vineyard Management Practices and Carbon Footprints
  • Understanding Adoption and Impacts of Sustainable Practices in California Vineyards

      The full 2009 Wine Community Sustainability Report is available online at www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/sustainabilityreports.php.  In addition, a three-minute video providing overall background on California’s sustainable winegrowing practices can be viewed and downloaded in various formats at: http://inr.mediaseed.tv/EcoWine_36816.

       Members of Wine Institute and CAWG are the primary funders of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program, with additional support coming from American Farmland Trust, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Natural Resource Conservation Service, USDA’s Risk Management Agency, California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

            The next Sustainability Report will be published in 2014.

# # #

New Study Reveals High Use of Environmentally-Friendly Practices in Calfiornia Winegrape Vineyards

October 15, 2009   Back to Top

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) has released a report funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) revealing that 101 winegrowers surveyed throughout California have a remarkably high level of adoption of sustainable vineyard management practices.  Complete survey results are detailed in the report titled, "Understanding Adoption and Impacts of Sustainable Practices: Sustainable Winegrowing Program Participants' Survey," and is available online.  

About 60 percent of the 101 surveyed winegrowers reported using 10 or more of the 16 environmentally friendly farming practices included in the study.  The six most-used practices, adopted by 80 percent or more of the growers, include

  • regular monitoring of pest insects and/or diseases;
  • use of reduced risk pesticides;
  • reduced tillage or no-till approaches;
  • conservation of natural vegetation on vineyard property;
  • leaf pulling; and
  • planting cover crops in the vineyard.

Winegrowers offered a variety of reasons for adopting these vineyard practices, with the most common being concern about the environmental impacts of their farming operations, including conservation of natural resources, such as soil.  The economic benefits of the practices are important to growers.  Monitoring for pests and diseases; monitoring water use; planting cover crops; and reducing tillage are all associated with significant cost savings.  Several practices, such as leaf pulling, also improve the quality of winegrapes.

Almost half of the growers expressed an interest in adopting alternative energy sources such as solar or wind powered systems, but high capital costs and potentially long payback periods are mentioned as deterrents.  Many are interested in releasing beneficial insects or planting more habitat such as hedgerows, but feel constrained by lack of knowledge and experience.  Finding viable alternatives to chemical weed control and improving water conservation are also high on the priority list of those surveyed.   

Many of the grower participants praised the Sustainable Winegrowing Program for helping them learn about more sustainable farming practices.  Constructive suggestions offered for the future direction of the program include an emphasis on increasing public awareness about issues of sustainability in farming and encouraging the purchase of winegrapes and wine produced with sustainable winegrowing practices.

The NFWF requested the 2008 study to learn the motivations for why California winegrowers use environmentally sustainable farming practices, the extent to which they use these practices and the impacts of these practices on their vineyard operations.  NFWF believes the survey information can be useful to growers who have not yet tried these sustainable practices, those who have already adopted the practices, program planners and educators in this field, and policy-makers interested in agriculture.  The survey was conducted by University of California Davis researchers in collaboration with CSWA.  Survey participants were winegrowers who participated in the CSWA program.

In early 2010, CSWA also plans to publish a comprehensive 2009-10 Progress Report on the California wine community's adoption and target goals of the best practices related to the 500-page Code of Sustainable Winegrowing workbook.  More than 1,500 vintners and growers - representing approximately 60% of the state's wine case production and vineyard acreage - have self-assessed their operations at 125 introductory workshops. More than 5,500 vintners and growers have attended 135 targeted education workshops.  

# # #

NEW VIDEO Highlights California Sustainable Winegrowing

September 8, 2009   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO - California has the most widely adopted green winegrowing and winemaking program in the world, one that has earned the state''s top environmental award. The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, established by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers, has released a new video to show highlights of its program''s earth-friendly practices embraced by the state''s vintners and winegrape growers.

"Consumers are interested in knowing where and how their wines are grown and made, and the California wine community has responded by becoming a progressive advocate of environmentally conscious practices," notes Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute. "As our sustainable program develops and expands, we''re seeing how responsible sustainable practices have a positive impact on the environment and in our communities."

The term "sustainability" has a specific meaning for California''s vintners and winegrape growers. "Sustainable practices include the way we preserve and protect the land, water, and air, and how we responsibly interact with employees and local communities," says Karen Ross, President of the California Association of Winegrape Growers. "We also want to ensure that winegrowing families have viable businesses to pass on, and provide consumers the value they''ve come to expect from California wines."

At the heart of California''s sustainability movement is the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing, a 16-chapter workbook that lays out best practices for soil, ecosystems, air quality, pest control, water conservation, recycling, energy efficiency and wine quality, among many other practices. The Code has formalized socially and environmentally responsible ways to farm and make wine from the ground to the glass.

Visit: http://www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/media.php to view the video

CSWA Offers Free Grower Guide on Reducing Risk Through Sustainable Winegrowing

March 11, 2009   Back to Top

san francisco - The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) has published a free grower guide, "Reducing Risks through Sustainable Winegrowing: A Growers'' Guide," funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Risk Management Agency. The 45-page user-friendly guide demonstrates how adopting sustainable methods reduces risk and can be an effective management strategy to enhance the long-term viability of businesses. The guide is available online at: www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/agrowersguide.php.

About 30-35 percent of the state''s grape growers are uninsured, placing them at great risk, according to the USDA, Risk Management Agency Western Region Office. Moreover, crop insurance alone does not fully buffer risks to guarantee business success, and additional strategies are needed to minimize losses. The new guide recommends key practices from the California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices Workbook and other sources to reduce exposure. Economic, environmental, and social concerns are addressed, revealing how these types of risks are often interrelated. Applying the practices in the guide constitutes an integrated systems approach.

The top risks covered in the guide are water scarcity, impaired water quality, decreased soil quality, diminished air quality and climate change, increased labor costs, rising energy costs, pest outbreaks, aberrant weather and unexpected market challenges. The guide uses best practices from multiple sources including industry, academic and government experts to address water conservation and efficiency, water quality protection, soil conservation and management, air quality protection, human resource management, energy conservation and efficiency, integrated pest management, weather monitoring and preventive planning, selection of appropriate insurance policies and tools, and proactive business planning and management.

CSWA''s Sustainable Winegrowing Program (SWP) is a ground-breaking statewide initiative that encourages and enables winegrowers and vintners to adopt the highest standards of sustainable practices. The program was established in 2002 as a partnership between Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG).

In 2003, Wine Institute and CAWG formed the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, a San Francisco-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to assist in the implementation of the SWP. For more information on the alliance, visit http://www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/aboutcswa.php .

USDA Risk Management Agency grant information can be found at: http://www.rma.usda.gov/. The agency can also be reached at its regional office in Davis, CA at 530/792-5870.

Free Sustainable Management of Winery Water and Associated Energy workshops offered

December 16, 2008   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO - The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), in collaboration with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and regional wine associations, is hosting a new workshop series to give wineries of all sizes the tools for self-assessment to make improvements in environmental performance and to lower overall production costs for water and energy use. The cornerstone of the workshop is the recently published Comprehensive Guide to Sustainable Management of Winery Water and Associated Energy, developed by Wine Institute and the American Vineyard Foundation, in partnership with the National Grape & Wine Initiative. The document provides tools for self-assessment and documentation of a wide range of practices related to water and energy use, including steps to reduce source water use in cleaning and sanitation; minimize use of cleaning products and other chemicals; decrease the volume and strength of wastewater produced and associated energy required for treatment; and minimize the water and energy needed for heating and cooling operations. Common methods for land application of process wastewater are described and basic system design guidelines are presented.

A pilot workshop was held at J. Lohr Winery in Paso Robles on June 11, 2008. Three additional workshops will be held throughout Northern California.

· January 30, 2009 in Sacramento from 8:30am - 2:00pm at the Sheraton Grand, 1230 J Street, Sacramento

· February 18, 2009 in Modesto from 8:30am - 2:00pm at the 3G Conference Center, 2612 Crows Landing Road, Modesto

· April 29, 2009 in St. Helena from 8:30am - 2:00pm at Trinchero Winery, 100 St. Helena HWY, St. Helena

Workshop participants will also receive information on PG&E energy efficiency programs including: free-of-charge winery energy audits, equipment rebates, and technical support services. For more details and to register for any of the workshops, go to the workshop calendar at http://www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/workshopcalendar.php   . For a pdf copy of the guide and associated excel-based worksheets, contact info@sustainablewinegrowing.org.

The water guide - developed by Kennedy/Jenks Consultants and underwritten, in part, by the American Vineyard Foundation and PG&E - builds on research and other activities undertaken by the Wine Institute Environmental Working Group of the Technical Committee, which guided the development of this publication for managing winery water and energy.

"The guide demonstrates the California wine industry''s continued commitment to environmental stewardship and leadership in sustainable winegrowing," said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute. "Because natural resources are limited, the industry recognizes the need to be at the forefront of conserving and discharging water of high quality and using energy and other resources in a socially responsible manner."

Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) introduced the Sustainable Winegrowing Program in 2002 to document and increase the level of adoption of these practices. A comprehensive workbook of best practices was developed, and over 250 educational workshops have been held throughout California to encourage expansion of the practices. The program has earned the California wine community numerous awards and a reputation as the wine world''s leader in sustainability. Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers established CSWA in 2003, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to assist with implementation of the program.

Comprehensive Guide Published on Sustainable Management of Winery Water and Associated Energy

July 16, 2008   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO - Wine Institute and the American Vineyard Foundation, in partnership with the National Grape & Wine Initiative, recently published a new Comprehensive Guide to Sustainable Management of Winery Water and Associated Energy. The document gives wineries of all sizes the tools for self-assessment to make improvements in environmental performance and to lower overall production costs for water and energy use. These practices include steps to reduce source water use in cleaning and sanitation; minimize use of cleaning products and other chemicals; decrease the volume and strength of wastewater produced and associated energy required for treatment; minimize the water and energy needed for heating and cooling operations; and optimize the effectiveness of land application systems for wastewater treatment.

This document - developed by Kennedy/Jenks Consultants and underwritten, in part, by the American Vineyard Foundation and Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) - builds on research and other activities undertaken by the Wine Institute Environmental Working Group of the Technical Committee, which guided the development of this publication for managing winery water and energy.

"The guide demonstrates the California wine industry's continued commitment to envi-ronmental stewardship and leadership in sustainable winegrowing," said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute. "Because natural resources are limited, the industry recognizes the need to be at the forefront of conserving and discharging water of high quality and using energy and other resources in a socially responsible manner."

Workshops on how to use the guide will be provided by the California Sustainable Wine-growing Alliance and PG&E. For details on post-harvest winery water workshops and other sustainability educational events, visit California Sustainable Wine-growing Alliance to view the workshop calendar. Workshop participants will also receive information on PG&E programs including: free-of-charge winery energy audits, equipment rebates, and technical support services. The first winery water workshop was held in Paso Robles in June at J. Lohr Winery. For a PDF copy of the guide and associated excel-based worksheets, contact info@sustainablewinegrowing.org.

Established in 1934, the Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy group of 1,100 California wineries and affiliated businesses that initiates and advocates state, federal and interna-tional public policy to enhance the environment for the responsible production, consumption and enjoyment of wine. The organization also works to enhance the economic and environmental health of its communities and the state through its leadership in sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices. Wine Institute introduced the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Program in conjunction with the California Association of Winegrape Growers in 2002 and established the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance in 2003 to implement the program.

CELEBRATE EARTH DAY WITH ECO-FRIENDLY CALIFORNIA WINE: 10 Reasons to Toast the Day with Sustainably-Grown California Wine

March 31, 2008   Back to Top

Red, White & Green:
Top 10 Reasons California Wines
Are an Eco-Friendly Choice

1. A Code to Live By

California growers and vintners subscribe to California''s Sustainable Winegrowing Program (SWP), which establishes eco-friendly standards and practices from ground to glass.

2. Alternative Energy: Solar, Wind and Vegetable Oil

Solar panels and wind turbines are becoming as much a part of the wine country landscape as grapevines as California growers and vintners quickly embrace alternative energy sources, including biodegradable fuel -- produced from vegetable oils and animal fats -- to power farm equipment and "on road" transport motor vehicles.

3. It Takes a Menagerie: Critters in the Vineyards

Sheep and goats and chickens - oh my! Winegrowers use sheep, goats, chickens, falcons, owls, dogs, beneficial insects and other creatures to provide a low-impact, natural method to cultivate vineyards and manage pests.

 SAN FRANCISCO-Earth Day 2008 will be celebrated on April 22. This year more Americans than ever will re-examine how their lifestyles and choices impact the environment. Global warming, greenhouse gases and carbon footprint have become household terms, and consumer groups, government agencies, and businesses are working on ways to preserve the land, air, water and other natural resources.

Protecting the environment is a priority for the California wine industry, and has been for years. Vintners and growers made a formal commitment to implement sustainable practices by establishing in 2002 a best practices program named the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing. In honor of Earth Day 2008, California''s two largest trade associations - Wine Institute, representing the state''s vintners, and the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG), representing its winegrape growers - have developed the "Top 10 Reasons California Wines are an Eco-Friendly Choice," a list to inform consumers about where and how their wines and foods are grown.

"We know consumers have many choices when it comes to wine," says Karen Ross, President of CAWG. "Especially around Earth Day, we want wine consumers to know that when they choose California wine, they are making a choice for the environment."

"California wine is ahead of the curve in establishing and adopting sound environmental practices," commented Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute. "Our Code of Sustainable Winegrowing sets forth standards and guidelines for reducing environmental impacts, because it''s the right thing to do for our families and communities, our future and for enhancing wine quality."

The Code is laid out in a workbook and covers hundreds of sustainable vineyard and winery practices that California growers and vintners employ. In creating this "Top 10" list, Wine Institute and CAWG selected practices that would be most relevant to today''s consumer.

 

4. Green Architecture

California wineries use "green" building and materials - straw bales, rammed earth, earthen plaster, recycled lumber -- techniques and designs that take energy conservation and long-term environmental impact into consideration.

5. Ecosystem Management & Restoration Projects

California vineyards are designed with the larger ecosystem in mind, preserving vernal pools, oak woodlands, and other wildlife habitats and creating nest boxes for owls, raptors and other beneficial birds. California winegrowers are at the forefront of habitat restoration and preservation efforts, working with government agencies to establish conservation easements and restore watersheds.

 

6. Fields of Dreams: Cover Crops and Compost

California winegrowers use cover crops and compost in the vineyards to enrich healthy soils with biomass and vibrant populations of microbes and worms and to prevent erosion and attract helpful insects that prey on pests.

7. It Starts at Home: Human Resources

Dozens of California vineyards and wineries have employee-run recycling and solid waste management programs.

8. Our Most Precious Resource: Water Conservation

California winegrowers have adopted water conservation practices, including drip irrigation systems that use technology to sense soil moisture and monitor plant stress, thereby determining the precise level of water and timing of water applications.

9. Climate Change: Everyone''s Business

California winegrowers have committed themselves to measuring and reducing their greenhouse gas footprint by working with international partners to develop the Wine Industry Greenhouse Gas Accounting Protocol and sharing the accounting tool worldwide at no charge. They are also increasing their energy efficiency by insulating tanks, installing new lighting fixtures and adopting innovative new packaging.

10. Being a Good Neighbor: Community Involvement & Philanthropy

In addition to being good neighbors by participating in the Sustainable Winegrowing Program the California wine industry Is one of the most generous industries in the U.S., supporting non-profit and charitable organizations with $115 million annually.
 

Wine Institute and International Partners to Release New Greenhouse Gas Protocol and Accounting Tool

January 28, 2008   Back to Top

SAN FRANCISCO - The International Wine Industry Greenhouse Gas Accounting Protocol, developed through a partnership between the Wine Institute of California, New Zealand Winegrowers, South Africa's Integrated Production of Wine program, and the Winemakers' Federation of Australia, will soon be released for use by the global wine industry. With increased attention to climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and offsets, the goal of the project partners is to provide a free, easy-to-use, wine industry specific, greenhouse gas (GHG) protocol and calculator that will measure the carbon footprints of winery and vineyard operations of all sizes.

Examples of winery GHG tracking needs include meeting future regulatory requirements, such as AB 32, which requires the state of California to reach 1990 carbon emission levels by the year 2020. Although the wine industry and most other agricultural industries are considered low producers of carbon emissions, GHG issues, such as gaining market access to retailers interested in carbon foot printing, providing data for marketing purposes and/or carbon credit accounting, are becoming more significant to brands and image.

"The International Wine Industry Greenhouse Gas Accounting Protocol is a natural complement to the California wine industry's commitment to environmental stewardship and leadership in sustainable winegrowing," said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute. "Our wineries, the majority of which are family owned, believe that tools such as this are important to the long-term viability and health of their businesses."

Wine Institute and its global partnership of wine associations contracted Provisor Pt Ltd, a consultancy firm with expertise in resource accounting in the wine industry, to develop the international wine industry protocol, based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol set by the World Resources Institute. The GHG Protocol provides the accounting framework for nearly every GHG standard and program in existence. Following this methodology, the group determined three "scopes" of emissions in the wine life cycle to be included in product footprint calculations

  1. Scope 1 - Direct emissions over which the company has control via ownership of activities and that are included in mandatory reporting schemes. Examples include stationary fuel use such as water heaters, frost fighting equipment, and boilers, and mobile fuel use such as tractors, trucks, and harvesters.
  2. Scope 2 - Indirect emissions from the production of purchased electricity, heat or steam, also included in mandatory reporting schemes.
  3. Scope 3 - Indirect emissions from all activities that are purchased from other companies, which may be included in product life cycle analysis. Examples include extraction and production of purchased materials such as fertilizers, packaging material, and transportation of purchased products to the winery or transportation of wine products to the point of sale.

The protocol forms the basis for the accompanying GHG calculator, which serves as a practical application of the protocol. The international partners engaged their winery members in the development of the protocol and calculator, which will continue to be updated and refined as new information becomes available. The GHG protocol and version 1.1. of the excel-based calculator will be released to Wine Institute's membership in February, 2008, with broader distribution to follow. Future plans include creating a web-based calculator, integrating the calculator into the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program, and organizing workshops across the state to provide climate change information and technical assistance on use of the tool.

"Our Environmental Committee's main mission was to develop useful and uniform tools for meeting the carbon foot printing needs of the industry. Advancing the practices for sustainability is also a prime motivator for the industry's vintners and growers," said Chris Savage, Director of Environmental Affairs at E. & J. Gallo Winery and Co-chair of the Wine Institute Technical Committee's Environmental Working Group.

"Though wine accounts for minimal air emissions, many California vintners and growers have been leaders in developing sustainable winemaking and winegrowing practices, and advancing the concept of environmental responsibility for the wine industry," said Bob Calvin, Director of Engineering West Coast Operations for Constellation and co-chair of the Wine Institute Technical Committee's Environmental Working Group. "The Greenhouse Gas tool will further help the wine community understand how and which operations impact air quality and help managers develop strategies for reducing emissions."

Established in 1934, the Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy group of over 1,100 California wineries and affiliated businesses that initiates and advocates state, federal and international public policy to enhance the environment for the responsible production, consumption and enjoyment of wine. The organization also works to enhance the economic and environmental health of its communities and the state through its leadership in sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices. The Wine Institute membership represents 85 percent of U.S. production and 95 percent of U.S. wine exports.

California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance to receive grants from National Fish & Wildlife Foundation and Department of Pesticide Regulation for survey and integrated pest management

January 17, 2008   Back to Top

San Francisco - The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) will receive a grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation to survey winegrowers regarding motivations for adopting sustainable winegrowing practices and a grant from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to provide integrated pest management education for winegrowers and other grape growers.

The National Fish & Wildlife Foundation will award $82,000 to CSWA to identify motivations and conservation benefits of sustainable practices. The project will involve conducting interviews of 100 growers to explore the motivations for adopting sustainable practices as well as perceived benefits, barriers and incentives to adoption. Results will be used to increase and speed adoption by the California wine community and other agricultural sectors. For instance, CSWA will conduct workshops that inform growers about survey results and the benefits of effective implementation of ecosystem/conservation practices, such as biodiversity protection, watershed restoration, and integrated pest management

CSWA also will receive a $183,640 grant from DPR as part of the Pest Management Alliance Grants program. The project will extend proven, reduced-risk pest management strategies from the Sustainable Winegrowing Workbook to winegrape, table grape and raisin growers throughout California. Using 10 demonstration vineyards and a series of 20 educational events, the Grape Pest Management Alliance intends to achieve widespread adoption of economically viable integrated pest management practices that reduce pesticide risks to air and water. The grant calls for a 20 percent increase in winegrape performance, compared to current sustainability criteria, and a grower survey to capture project impact on table grape and raisin acreage.

"The California wine industry is working to enhance the economic and environmental health of its communities through its leadership in sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices. The National Fish & Wildlife Foundation grant will help us better understand the motivations and benefits of adopting sustainable practices and other incentives that will help increase the number of vintners and growers participating in the program," said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute.

"The sustainable winegrowing program has already generated widespread participation that has given California''s wine industry a unique advantage in the global market," said Karen Ross, President of the California Association of Winegrape Growers. "The DPR grant is an exciting opportunity to work with other grape sectors that share the wine community''s commitment to environmentally responsible pest management practices that support the production of high quality grapes and wine."

CSWA''s Sustainable Winegrowing Program (SWP) is a ground-breaking initiative that encourages and enables winegrowers and vintners to adopt the highest standards of sustainable practices. The program, established in 2002, is a partnership between Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG).

In 2003, Wine Institute and CAWG formed the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, a San Francisco-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to assist in the implementation of the SWP. For more information on the alliance, visit http://www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/aboutcswa.php.

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant information can be found at: http://www.nfwf.org/. DPR grant information can be found at: http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/dprgrants.htm.

USDA and CDFA Award Grants to the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance for Risk Management and Climate Change

October 12, 2007   Back to Top

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) will receive two grants from the United States Department of Agriculture''s (USDA''s) Risk Management Agency and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for new risk management and climate change initiatives.

The USDA Risk Management Agency announced an award of a $96,000 Risk Management Partnership Agreement to CSWA to provide tools for vintners and growers to help prevent or minimize risks and losses. The agreement will be used in part to develop a handbook and hold workshops that will present best practices, resources and case studies, including data on the financial implications of adopting risk management strategies. Offering risk management education is part of CSWA''s mission to promote sustainable winegrowing practices that help vintners and winegrowers remain economically viable.

CSWA was also one of 12 "new and innovative" projects that CDFA selected to receive a $100,000 grant as part of the Specialty Crop Block Grants program. The project will involve collaboration between industry and academic partners to examine data and research pertaining to emissions and offsets of greenhouse gases to better understand the wine, table and raisin grape sector''s greenhouse gas "footprint." The project findings will enable the industry to accelerate development of mitigation measures and prioritize research needs. The partners are Wine Institute, California Association of Winegrape Growers, Allied Grape Growers, California Farm Bureau Federation, California Grape and Tree Fruit League, Sun-Maid Growers of California, and the University of California at Davis.

"California''s wine industry members have always been great collaborators and have shared information. The climate change partnership is an example of this spirit as well as being an efficient use of resources," said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute. "The grants will help protect the economic sustainability of California''s wine industry and support our efforts to preserve air quality

"California winegrowers are resilient and have already adapted their practices to accommodate seasonal changes in the climate. However, the development of new tools and research information will put us ahead of the curve in making informed decisions for the future," said Karen Ross, President of the California Association of Winegrape Growers.

"The wine community is solidly committed to sustainable winegrowing practices demonstrated by their continuing participation in our programs and workshops. We''re pleased that USDA and CDFA have chosen to support our efforts to protect air quality and manage risk," said Allison Jordan, Executive Director of CSWA.

CSWA''s Sustainable Winegrowing Program (SWP) is a ground-breaking project that encourages and enables winegrowers and vintners to adopt the highest standards of sustainable practices. The program, established in 2002, is a partnership between Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG).

In 2003, Wine Institute and CAWG formed the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, a San Francisco-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to assist in the implementation of the SWP. For more information on the alliance, visit http://www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/aboutcswa.php.

The USDA grant is part of the Risk Management Agency''s Commodity Partnerships Program. Grant information is at: http://www.rma.usda.gov/news/2007/03/commoditypartnershipscorr.pdf. The CDFA grant information can be found at:

http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/Specialty_Crop_Competitiveness_Grants/Grants.html.

USDA Awards $607,500 Conservation Grant to California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance

July 9, 2007   Back to Top

Sacramento, CA, July 9, 2007 - The efforts of California winegrape growers and vintners to build on their environmental successes gained a major boost late last month, when the United States Department of Agriculture awarded a $607,500 Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) to the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. The grant recognizes the uniquely cooperative approach California wineries and winegrape growers are taking to conserve vital air, water, soil and energy resources, and will allow the Alliance, with the assistance of the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) and Wine Institute, to help growers and vintners learn about, access and benefit from market-based conservation opportunities.

"CIG accelerates development, transfer and adoption of promising new technologies and approaches to some of the nation's most pressing natural resource concerns," said Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Mark Rey as he announced the nearly $20 million funding for 54 CIG awards nationwide.

The CIG-funded project will build upon the Alliance''s award-winning track record in sustainable practices education and outreach to help growers and vintners understand and use environmental accounting tools that document conservation outcomes for use in market-based conservation approaches. The online software system used by the Alliance will be enhanced so the wine community can more easily manage information on resource conservation practices to participate in greenhouse gas and water quality trading opportunities, energy and water use reduction incentive programs, and alternative compliance with new regulatory programs addressing air and water quality.

"California''s wine industry has been a leading proponent of producing wines and winegrapes in an environmentally friendly manner that reflects the incredible natural resources this state has been blessed with," says CAWG President Karen Ross. Added Robert P. "Bobby" Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute, "This grant recognizes not only the innovative new technology that will be introduced but the outstanding partnerships that have been forged between growers and vintners dedicated to protecting our land, our air and our water."

California''s Sustainable Winegrowing Program (SWP) is a ground-breaking program that encourages and enables winegrowers and vintners to adopt the highest standards of sustainable practices. The Program, established in 2002, is a partnership between the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) and Wine Institute.

In 2003, CAWG and the Wine Institute formed the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), a San Francisco-based 501c3 nonprofit organization to assist in the implementation of the SWP.

For more information on the Alliance, visit http://www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/aboutcswa.php
For more information on the grant, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/cig/2007awards.html.

California Sustainable Winegrowing Report Reflects Increased Adoption of "Green" Practices

December 7, 2006   Back to Top

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), established by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG), today unveiled its 2006 Progress Report indicating a 24 percent increase since 2004 in the number of California wineries and vineyard businesses working to adopt practices that are sensitive to the environment and society at large.  Industry leaders presented the results at a press event held at Fort Mason in San Francisco, attended by the media, government officials, members of the wine community from throughout the state and other key stakeholders.
      
The report indicated that 1,165 vineyard and winery enterprises in the CSWA program have evaluated their sustainable practices for 33 percent of California's 522,000 total winegrape acres, and 53 percent of the state's total annual wine production of 273 million cases.  More specifically, winegrowers increased their performance for 31 of 38 pest management criteria by nearly 8 percent.

"The California wine industry has embraced sustainable winegrowing because it is comprised predominantly of families and businesses committed to the land and their local communities.  Their passion for making the finest quality wine is tied directly to the state's climate and soil which are ideal for wine.  Preserving valuable natural resources and being a good neighbor are part of the legacy that they are passing on to future generations," said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute.

"The widespread participation of the wine community in this program has been impressive and continues this industry's unprecedented work in measuring its sustainability and documenting its progress publicly," said Karen Ross, President of the California Association of Winegrape Growers.  "The California wine community's environmental commitment also contributes to the state's appeal as a great place to live, work and visit, and resonates with consumers who desire high quality wines produced in a sustainable manner."

Wine Institute and CAWG launched the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program in 2002 to help the state earn a reputation as the world leader in the adoption of sustainable winegrowing practices.  The two groups created CSWA to implement the program with the goals of promoting environmental stewardship and social responsibility in the state's wine community.  Since the program's launch, CSWA has held 188 educational workshops statewide, according to CSWA Managing Director Ann Thrupp.

Integrated Pest Management Improvements

Pest management performance was measured and documented in the 2004 Sustainability Report, and then measured again after CSWA conducted 75 educational workshops throughout California focusing on this area.  Performance improved for 31 of the 38 pest management criteria by nearly 8 percent.  But greater increases were indicated for several practices including: use of reduced-risk pesticides, up 18%; employee training, up 16%; predatory mite releases, up 44%; and weed monitoring, up 22%.

Grants from the American Farmland Trust helped support the wine industry's effort to increase statewide winegrower performance in pest management. 

Second Edition Released with New Air Quality Chapter

The centerpiece of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program is the best management practices self-assessment workbook, of which the second edition is now being released.  Growers and vintners assess and report their viticultural and wine production practices, using 14 workbook chapters of 227 types of sustainable practices from the ground to the glass. The program provides participants confidential, customized reports to compare their practices with regional and statewide results to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement.

The most significant addition to the second edition is a new Air Quality Chapter, developed with the guidance of a vintner-grower committee of 50 experts as well as external reviewers.  The new chapter was created with matching funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The grant was also used to hold workshops and establish air and water quality demonstration sites in more than 10 vineyards throughout California to showcase innovative technologies and practices.

"The California Sustainable Winegrowing Program brings growers and technical advisors together to recognize sustainable farming practices and to identify collaborative approaches to further conserve and protect natural resources.  The winegrowing industry should be commended for taking the lead to find solutions that protect the environment while rewarding quality wine production," said Daniel Mountjoy, Assistant State Conservationist for Field Operations for NRCS.

Online Edition Available for Web-Based Self-Assessment and Reporting

An additional element to the program is a newly revised web site at www.sustainablewinegrowing.org, which features an online edition of the workbook where participants can self-assess their sustainability and receive reports on their individual results.  The new online system allows participants to link to other web-based resources and develop and save action plans for improving practices.

"As farmers and landowners, we love the land and are ever mindful of environmental impacts.  Exhausted soils and misuse of the land and waters contribute to less productive vineyards.  Environmental stewardship comes naturally because it makes sense for our business, for our family and for our community," said Randy Lange, CSWA Board Chairman and co-founder of LangeTwins Wine Estates.

"The California Sustainable Winegrowing Program shows the wine community and others that environmentally sensitive practices make good business sense in ways that go well beyond the bottom line," said Paul Dolan, Wine Institute Board Chairman and Partner of Mendocino Wine Company.

Members of Wine Institute and CAWG are the primary funders of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program, with support coming not only from American Farmland Trust and NRCS, but also the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

In addition to the Sustainable Winegrowing Progress Report, the Fort Mason press event presented a report entitled the "Economic Impact of California Wine 2006."  Wine Institute and CAWG developed the report to provide an understanding of the industry's contributions to the California and U.S. economies for use in public policy discussions with state and federal legislators and other key officials.

The California Association of Winegrape Growers was founded in 1974 with the mission to provide industry leadership to advocate public policies, research and education programs and trade positions that enhance the business of growing California winegrapes.  CAWG's membership represents the growers of approximately 60 percent of the total annual grape crush.

The Wine Institute is the association of more than 1000 California wineries and affiliated businesses dedicated to initiating and advocating state, federal and international public policy to enhance the environment for the responsible consumption and enjoyment of wine.  Wine Institute's membership accounts for about 95 percent of California's wine production and 85 percent of U.S. wine.

Free Workshops To Help California Wineries And Vineyards Conserve Energy And Save Money

November 18, 2005   Back to Top

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) and Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) are co-hosting energy efficiency workshops throughout the state to help California wineries and vineyards conserve energy, resources and money. The workshops are free of charge to participants and are funded through PG&E's energy efficiency programs under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. The first two workshops will be held in Napa Valley from 7:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m. on November 30, 2005 at Silverado Vineyards and in Mendocino from 7:30-2:00 p.m. on December 14, 2005 at the Ukiah Valley Conference Center. Details on additional wine industry workshops to be offered in 2006 will be provided at a later date. Partner organizations for the workshops include Wine Institute, California Association of Winegrape Growers, Napa Valley Vintners, Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Mendocino Winegrowers Alliance and Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association.
 
The energy workshops are being held in response to findings in the California wine community's 2004 Sustainability Report, which provided results on the industry's adoption of sustainable winegrowing practices. The report indicated that energy use was an area that offered wineries and vineyards opportunities for improvement. In response, CSWA is partnering with PG&E to inform the wine community about best practices and opportunities for energy savings. Given the potential vulnerability and increasing costs of energy supplies, participation is expected to be high. 
 
The workshop content includes energy evaluation and planning strategies, best practices for energy management in vineyards and wineries, and renewable energy opportunities. PG&E will provide updated information on free winery audits, available equipment rebates, technical support services and other new resources for winery and vineyard customers. The workshops will conclude with participants developing an action plan for improving practices as well as self-assessment ratings in the Energy Efficiency chapter of the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Workbook. 
 
The energy workshops will augment other workshops on topics such as integrated pest management, ecosystem management, and air and water quality, being planned by CSWA for late fall 2005 and early 2006 as part of the California wine community's Sustainable Winegrowing Program. Visit the Workshops section of this website to view the workshop calendar, registration details and further information.

California Wine Community's Code Of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices Receives Edmund G.

June 20, 2005   Back to Top

The California Council for Environment and Economic Balance (CCEEB) announced that its 2005 Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Award will be given to the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), Wine Institute, the California Association of Winegrape Growers and the many vintners and winegrape growers participating in the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices program. The prestigious award, named on behalf of the founding Chairman of CCEEB recognizes organizations and individuals that exemplify the principles of environmental and economic balance. CSWA is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit foundation established by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers to support widespread adoption of sustainable winegrowing practices.
 
A prominent feature of the sustainable winegrowing program is the collaborative effort in its development and implementation by vintners, growers, regional trade associations, regulators, academics, environmental and social equity groups and other stakeholders. The result has been more than 110 sustainable winegrowing workshops in all the major winegrowing regions of California. To date, over 1,250 growers and/or winemakers have attended the workshops and contributed benchmark data measuring the level of adoption of sustainable practices in their vineyard and winery operations. 
 
CSWA presented the participant data in its first Sustainability Report in October of 2004. The report described California's sustainable winegrowing strengths and opportunities for improvement, and set new goals to increase adoption of environmentally friendly practices. Based on the report findings, CSWA is planning new workshops targeted at the most challenging areas and will issue follow-up reports tracking the California wine community's progress in the years to come. Workshops have been offered on energy-efficient practices, water conservation and integrated pest management, for instance. 
 
"The success of the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices workbook, the workshops and the Sustainability Report are examples of how an industry can provide the tools for businesses to become more sustainable," said CCEEB President Victor Weissor. "With this award, CCEEB is proud to acknowledge the wine community's achievements and urges other industry and agricultural groups to emulate these efforts to promote business practices that are environmentally sensitive, socially responsive and economically feasible." 
 
"On behalf of the CSWA Board of Directors, we are honored to receive this special recognition," said CSWA President Jim Unti of Constellation Brands, Inc. "Sustainable winegrowing practices simultaneously address environmental impacts and sound business practices while giving added value to California wine. The program encourages responsiveness to both local communities and growing consumer trends, keeping California's wine industry viable in an increasingly competitive global market."
 
The annual award is administered by CCEEB, a coalition of California business, labor and public leaders who work together to advance collaborative strategies for a sound economy and a healthy environment. The prize recipients are determined by a selection committee comprised of CCEEB directors, representative of all three of CCEEB's constituencies. The award, a handcrafted gold, sterling silver and bronze sculpture, symbolizes the need to balance CCEEB's tripartite coalition of business, labor and public members. CSWA, Wine Institute and CAWG will be recognized at an award dinner on Tuesday, July 26, at the Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley, Lake Tahoe, California.

California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance Announces New Officers And Managing Director

March 14, 2005   Back to Top

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA)-a non-profit organization established by the Wine Institute and California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) to promote environmental stewardship and social responsibility in the California wine community - recently elected new officers to its Board of Directors and appointed a Managing Director.
 
Jim Unti of Mission Bell Winery has become the CSWA Board Chairman. Other newly elected officers include Randy Lange of Lange Twins, Inc., Board Vice-Chairman; Bill Cooper of Cooper-Garrod Vineyards, Board Secretary; and Andy Hoxsey of Napa Wine Company, Board Treasurer.
 
The CSWA board also appointed Dr. Ann Thrupp as Managing Director of CSWA to oversee the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices (SWP) program. Thrupp, who has more than 20 years experience in sustainable agriculture, will also maintain her current position as Manager of Organic Development and North Coast Grower Representative at Fetzer Vineyards. Fetzer's parent company Brown-Forman is contributing a portion of Thrupp's work time at Fetzer to CSWA to demonstrate its support of the program. Thrupp assumes the position previously held by Dr. Jeff Dlott of SureHarvest, whose work has been instrumental in creating and advancing the SWP program. Dr. Dlott will continue to provide strategic advice and technical services to CSWA.
 
"Ann Thrupp's dedication and expertise working with our CSWA officers and board ensures that the California wine industry will maintain its leadership position and build on the momentum already generated by the Sustainable Winegrowing Practices program," says Robert P. Koch, Wine Institute President and CEO.
 
"We are looking forward to the next phase of the program which includes increasing winegrower participation and adoption of sustainable practices," says Karen Ross, President of the California Association of Winegrape Growers. "CSWA will hold workshops on issues such as water quality, ecosystem management and energy efficiency, as well as developing new chapters for the best practices workbook."
 
Previous to the CSWA and Fetzer positions, Thrupp served as Life Scientist & Policy Specialist at U.S. EPA Region 9, consultant to both Robert Mondavi Winery and the Funders Agricultural Working Group, and Director of Sustainable Agriculture at World Resources Institute. Thrupp holds a doctorate in Development Studies from Sussex University, Brighton, U.K., a bachelor's degree from Stanford University and is a graduate of the California Agricultural Leadership Program. She has published numerous books and articles.

Governor Schwarzenegger Gives Top Environmental Award To California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance

December 2, 2004   Back to Top

Governor Schwarzenegger named the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) a recipient of the 2004 Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards (GEELA) during a ceremony at the California Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Sacramento yesterday. The GEELA is California's highest and most prestigious environmental honor and recognizes individuals, organizations and businesses that have demonstrated leadership and made notable contributions in conserving the state's natural resources, protecting and enhancing the environment, and building public-private partnerships. CSWA is a 501(c)3 educational nonprofit organization established by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers to support widespread adoption of sustainable winegrowing practices.
 
The governor recognized CSWA in the award category of Environmental & Economic Partnerships. A prominent feature of the CSWA Sustainable Winegrowing Program is the active participation of vintners, growers, regional trade associations, regulators, academics, environmental and social equity groups and other stakeholders in its development and implementation of the program. The result of this collaborative effort by CSWA has been more than 90 sustainable winegrowing workshops in 24 counties covering all the major winegrowing regions of California. To date, more than 1000 growers and/or winemakers, representing 800 vineyard enterprises and 125 winery facilities, have attended the workshops. The participants contributed benchmark data measuring the level of adoption of sustainable practices in their vineyard and winery operations.
 
CSWA reported on the data in its first Sustainability Report in October of 2004. The report described California's sustainable winegrowing strengths and opportunities for improvement and set new goals to increase adoption of environmentally friendly practices. Based on the report findings, CSWA is planning new sustainable winegrowing workshops targeted at the most challenging areas and will issue follow-up reports tracking the California wine community's progress in the years to come.
 
"On behalf of the CSWA Board of Directors, we are honored to receive this special recognition from the State of California and the governor," said CSWA President Steve Quashnick of Quashnick Farms in Acampo. "We hope the recognition will help expand participation in our sustainable winegrowing program. Through this collaborative effort between vintners and growers, sustainability is a concept that has now entered the mainstream thinking and doing of the California wine community."
 
"The GEELA recognition continues the momentum of our sustainable program, which has received a positive response from vintners and growers around the state," said CSWA Vice President Jim Unti of Constellation USA. "However, our work is only beginning, and the California wine community has demonstrated its commitment in taking a leadership role in producing the finest quality wines in a socially responsible manner."
 
Nominated by Congressman David Dreier and Assembly Member Patricia Wiggins, CSWA was also endorsed for the award by California Senator Wesley Chesbro, CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura, Sustainable Conservation Executive Director Ashley Boren, California Environmental Dialogue Director Charles McGlashan, and California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance President Victor Weisser. A Selection Committee evaluated applications for strength in eight specific areas: results, transferability, environmental impact, resource conservation impact, economic progress, innovation/uniqueness, pollution prevention, and environmental justice.
 
The annual GEELA program is administered by the California Environmental Protection Agency and Resources Agency in partnership with the State and Consumer Services Agency.

New Ground-Breaking Report Documents California Sustainable Winegrowing Practices: USDA Awards $475,000 Grant To Program

October 6, 2004   Back to Top

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), established in 2003 by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) to promote environmental stewardship and social responsibility in the California wine community, today presented its first report measuring the level of sustainable practices among vintners and growers on a statewide basis. The report is the first time an entire industry sector has used a common assessment tool to document the adoption of sustainable practices among its members and reported the results publicly. The presentation was held at Fort Mason's Golden Gate Room and attended by wine industry stakeholders, government officials, and members of academia, the environmental community and the media.
 
Wine Institute and CAWG initiated the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program in 2001 to help the state earn a reputation as the world leader in the adoption of sustainable winegrowing practices. More than 70 workshops have been held throughout California to support the industry's implementation and expansion of sustainable practices. Workshop participants evaluate their vineyard and winery operations using a 490-page workbook of best management practices, developed by a Joint Committee of 50 members from Wine Institute, CAWG and other key stakeholders. The evaluation results collected from the workshops are contained in the report, and represent about 40 percent of the California's 260 million case production and 25 percent of its 529,000 wine acres.
 
To support the Sustainable Winegrowing Program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service has awarded a $475,000 matching fund grant for the development of air and water quality innovations. This will include educational materials, such as a new air quality chapter in the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing workbook and the establishment of air quality and water quality demonstration sites throughout California to showcase innovative technologies and practices. "This federal grant builds upon the support received from CDFA and the American Farmland Trust, and will help continue the momentum of the program to increase participation and show constant improvement. Consumers will appreciate our efforts in being responsible stewards of the land and good neighbors, while maintaining the long-term viability of businesses that contribute significantly to the state's economy," said Robert P. Koch, president and CEO of Wine Institute, the public policy advocacy group for nearly 800 California wineries and affiliated businesses. "The Sustainable Winegrowing Program represents a great legacy to pass on to future generations of winegrowers, and can serve as a model for other agricultural commodities."
 
"California growers and vintners are committed to taking a leadership role in producing the finest quality wines with sustainable practices. We are in the process of analyzing the data gathered from the workbook assessments and determining where we should focus our next efforts," said Karen Ross, president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers. "The strong participation of the wine community, stakeholders, scientists, and government officials have lent credibility to the project and moved it into mainstream thinking and part of our everyday effort."
 
The new 2004 Sustainability Report provides baseline information for 13 areas of sustainable winegrowing practices. The results indicate widespread adoption of sustainable management practices in many critical areas including: water conservation, pesticide risk reduction and soil management. It also points out areas that need to be addressed such as energy conservation, material handling and environmentally preferred purchasing. Dealing with these issues will require time, money, innovation and, in some cases, outside expertise, new technologies, an improved regulatory framework, and partnerships.
 
"We've created a peer-to-peer education and outreach approach that fosters collaboration and raises the bar on the adoption of sustainable practices," said CSWA Chairman, Steve Quashnick of Quashnick Farms in Acampo. "As our knowledge base expands, we will strive to integrate new practices, procedures, and technologies that support our vision of long-term sustainability."
 
"While the population of California increases dramatically each year, placing vineyards and wineries in closer proximity to non-farming communities, the positive response of California's vintners and growers to the Sustainable Winegrowing Program demonstrates the industry's commitment to producing high quality wines in a manner that balances social, environmental and economic principles," said Past CSWA Chairman Paul Dolan of Mendocino Wine Company in Ukiah. 
 

Wine Institute And CAWG Receive Integrated Pest Management Innovator Award

October 15, 2003   Back to Top

Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) received the Department of Pesticide Regulation's "IPM Innovator of the Year Award" at a ceremony at the California Environmental Projection Agency headquarters in Sacramento today. The department gave two of its eight awards to these organizations this year to give rare public recognition to those who develop and promote methods for pest management that reduce the risks associated with using traditional chemical approaches.
 
Wine Institute and CAWG developed the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices, a statewide program and 490-page workbook for vintners and growers. The Code promotes best management practices for protecting the environment and enhancing relations with employees, neighbors and local communities, while remaining economically competitive. Workbook chapters provide specific guidelines for managing pests with a broad-based combination of biological, cultural and chemical tools, including encouraging beneficial plants and animals that make it difficult for pests to survive.
 
"The positive response of California's vintners and growers to the Code program demonstrates the commitment to farm and make wine responsibly adjacent to the state's increasingly expanding urban areas. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it provides best practices to reinforce California's emphasis on making high quality wine," says Wine Institute President and CEO Robert P. Koch.
 
Wine Institute and CAWG have distributed 2000 Code workbooks and held 65 workshops throughout the state to help the California wine community use the workbook's resources. At the workshops, participants review the workbook chapters and submit self-assessments that scientifically measure the practices of their vineyard and winery operations. The confidential self-evaluations forms provide data to track the industry's progress in adopting the sustainable winegrowing guidelines. With this information, Wine Institute and CAWG plan to issue a "California Wine Community Sustainability Report" in the next year.
 
Introduced on October 29, 2002, the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices program has exceeded its first year goal of 10 percent industry participation. Self-assessments collected to date represent 29 percent of the state's winegrape acreage, and 53 percent of the state's wine production.
 
"Our California wine community is an innovative, forward-thinking group that is preparing itself for future trends. We will use the collected data to benchmark the industry's impact on the state's natural and human resources in order to track our progress in the coming years. The information also will help inform public officials and communities about the positive work the wine industry is doing to enhance the environment," says Karen Ross, president of CAWG, an organization whose growers represent about 60 percent of the state's total annual grape crush.
 
California Assemblymember Patricia Wiggins nominated Wine Institute and CAWG for the IPM Innovator award. "The Code of Sustainable Winegrowing was an obvious choice for recognition because it is the first of its kind in setting best practices for making wine from the ground to the glass," says Assemblymember Wiggins.
 
More information on the IPM Innovator Awards is online at:  www.cdpr.ca.gov. Further information on the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices is at http://www.sustainablewinegrowing.org.

California Vintners And Growers Introduce Code Of Sustainable Winegrowing Guidelines

October 29, 2002   Back to Top

Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) today introduced to the California wine community a code of best management practices and accompanying 490-page workbook promoting social responsibility and environmental stewardship.
 
Named the "Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices," the program is being unveiled to California's vintners and growers as a voluntary self-assessment tool with information on how to conserve natural resources, protect the environment and enhance relationships with employees, neighbors and local communities.
 
"With California's population growing at half a million people annually, we are taking steps to assure that California winegrowers will have viable and outstanding land for growing winegrapes and producing world-class wines. In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, it is in our interest to farm responsibly with the best science available," said John De Luca, president and CEO of the Wine Institute, a public policy advocacy group, representing more than 600 California wineries.
 
The California Department of Food and Agriculture has recognized the importance of this project by recently awarding a $280,000 grant for widespread implementation of the Code's sustainable practices. Wine Institute and CAWG will be working closely with regional groups throughout the state to hold educational workshops to help the industry adopt the Code.
 
The workbook includes 13 chapters of practical guidelines, including information on winegrape growing, soil management, pest management, ecosystems management, water and energy conservation, materials handling and human resources. The workbook has a built-in scientific measurement system which will help track the industry's progress in adopting the guidelines.
 
"This workbook laces together the impressive work done at the regional level regarding growing practices, with ground-breaking information related to winemaking and improving relations with employees, neighbors and communities. It is really the first of its kind," said Karen Ross, president of CAWG, an organization whose growers represent about 60 percent of the total annual grape crush.
 
"This project is important to my family. If we are going to maintain a winegrape growing operation, we have to be able to sell and compete against foreign competition. This is the 'leg up' that will help our operation as well as improve winegrape quality," said Stephen Schafer of Schafer Ranch and CAWG chairman.
 
More than 50 members of the Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers worked on the document for two years. Environmentalists, regulators, university educators and social equity groups provided expertise to the project as well. Project organizers say that the workbook will be updated periodically to reflect current industry advancements.
 
"This industry driven project recommends many practices that California vintners and growers are already doing. We believe the wine community will embrace the Code because it is the right thing to do and improves wine quality at the same time," said Michael Honig, chairman of the committee that developed the workbook and general manager of Honig Vineyard and Winery.