Current Certified Participant

Current Certified Participant

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Requirement Updates: All certified participants will have one full year to meet the updated certification requirements listed below. Your next audit in 2017 will continue with the current requirements, and all new requirements must be met by your audit in 2018 in order to maintain certification. (If you wish to use the logo/claims on the bottle sooner, you may choose to meet all new requirements by your next audit (in 2017) and can then use the logo/claims on the bottle in accordance with the new communications guidelines.) All “Year Two” prerequisite practices score requirements must be met by the 2018 audit.

Certification Guidebook:

  • Please download the CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE Program Guidebook - Jan. 2017 for full details about the certification program including the certification requirements, pre-requisites, process to obtain certification, guidelines for communicating certification, and other information. 
  • The Appendix is also available to download, which provides detailed guidance regarding the California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Workbook (Code Workbook) that must be followed as part of the CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE program.

The following requirements must be met by your 2018 audit in order to maintain certification:

  • Meet Minimum Score Threshold: 85% or more of the total relevant self-assessment scores must be Category 2 or higher (excludes non-applicable practices).
    • The SWP Online System now includes a new Certification Score Threshold report that you can run to check and see if you are already meeting the 85% score threshold. If you have not met the threshold, the report will show exactly how many Code workbook criteria must have score increases before the 2018 audit. If score increases are necessary, you can develop appropriate action plans to increase the Category scores.
  • Comply with CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE Red and Yellow List Requirements: Crop protection materials that are regulated as restricted materials by the US Environmental Protection Agency and/or California DPR are now included on either the CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE Red List or Yellow List.
    • Materials on the CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE Red List may not be used by Year Two. If materials on the CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE Yellow List are used, alternatives must first be tried or considered, and justification and mitigation of risk documented via a competed Use Form.
    • For more details, see Criterion 6-34 and the associated educational boxes in the SWP Online System.
  • Measure and Record Performance Metrics: Vineyards must measure and record water use and nitrogen applied annually. Wineries must measure and record water use, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) annually. The SWP Online System includes a free, secure and confidential metrics tool and calculator that can be used to satisfy this requirement. However, you may choose to use your own tracking system and keep the data on farm/location for auditor verification only.
  • Existing Program Requirements: Ensure you are meeting existing requirements for self-assessments, prerequisites, continuous improvement and action planning.

Audit Report Deadlines: In order to more accurately capture crop year/vintage years by the audit process to ensure wine bearing label claims is sustainably grown and produced, we are altering the certification deadlines effective 2017. The November audit report deadline will no longer be offered. (Participants in the November group should choose to join the Summer deadline cycle or the Winter deadline cycle.) The other deadline cycles will be changed slightly as outlined below:

  • Winter Deadline: Audit Reports due March 1; Notified of Approval by April 1
  • Spring Deadline: Audit Reports due May 1; Notified of Approval by June 1
  • Summer Deadline: Audit Reports due July 1; Notified of Approval by August 1

Communication Guidelines: There are several important updates to the communication tools and guidelines for the program. The complete updated communication guidelines should be reviewed and are available at: https://www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/amass/library/22/docs/Logo-and-Communications-Guide-CERTIFED-SUSTAINABLE_Dec2016.pdf. Please be sure to share the guidelines with all relevant marketing/communications colleagues.

  • New Program Acronym/Abbreviation: Since the existing program acronym (CCSW-Certified) is difficult for many people to remember and not very descriptive or meaningful, the program will now use CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE as the program abbreviation in all written materials. The abbreviation can only be used once the full program name is referenced – Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE).
  • New Certified Wine Logo: A new CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE wine logo is now available for use on the wine label and secondary packaging (neckers, shelf talkers) once all program requirements are met. The wine logo guidelines require that the wine must be made in a CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE winery, using at least 85% or more grapes from certified vineyards (certified grapes can come from CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE, Lodi Rules and/or Sustainability In Practice Certified vineyards) and must be 100% from California. (Shippers/case boxes can continue to use any certification logo – Vineyard, Winery, Vineyard & Winery, or the new Wine logo.)  Both the winery and vineyard(s) must meet Year Two Certification Requirements, the logo/claims use must be verified during a Chain of Custody audit, and a Wine Label Notification Form must be filed with CSWA.

Annual Administration Fees: CSWA has revised its annual administration fee structure to more accurately reflect the true costs of certification administration based on seven years of experience and a detailed cost analysis. The new administration fee structure will go into effect in 2017 and is based on the total acreage and/or case production being certified. Payment of annual fees will also now be required prior to the issuance of certificates each year. (Once audit reports are submitted to the Certification Review Panel, an invoice for the annual administration fee will be emailed to the certification contact(s). Payment must be received before the new certificate will be issued and mailed.) For the new annual administration fee table, please visit: https://www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/amass/library/22/docs/CERTIFIED-SUSTAINABLE-Cost-Estimates_final.pdf.

Background: We are very pleased to announce that the certification program updates that will allow for the use of logo/claims on the bottle have been approved. This creates an opportunity for more visibility of your commitment to sustainability in the marketplace and satisfies the need expressed by many certified participants and wine buyers for a certification logo on the bottle. As you know, Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE) went through an extensive industry and stakeholder review process in 2015-2016 to update the certification requirements to ensure they meet both industry and marketplace expectations. There are several important pieces of information that you must be aware of in order to maintain your certification status outlined below. Please be sure to read through these updates carefully and share this information with all relevant colleagues. 

The CSWA Team is excited to be able to offer the enhanced ability to communicate to trade, consumers and other key stakeholders by enabling use of the certification logo on the bottle. This next evolution of CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE is illustrative of our organization’s commitment to continuous improvement, and we are grateful for the support and input we have received from the industry and key stakeholders. We look forward to working with you as these changes take effect and, as always, please let us know if you have any questions or feedback. 

*For helpful resources for the new criterion and prerequisite 2-2 Environmental Compliance Planning, please visit: Vineyard Environmental Permits List & Questionnaire - Final and Winery Environmental Permits List & Questionnaire - Final