Friday, January 2, 2015

Sustainability in the Wine Industry

We cannot hope to create a sustainable culture with any but sustainable souls.” 

With over 1,000,000 acres of American soil dedicated to vineyards, sustaining the land has become a priority for an increasing number of viticulturists. According to the World Commission on Environment and Development, sustainability ensures that humanity “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Sustainable Development, par. 1). To do this, those who work the land must do so with, what the Iroquois Indians coined, the “next seven generations in mind”. 

Sustainability in the wine industry takes on many forms, from water conservation to natural pest control methods to alternative power sources. According to the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), a nonprofit organization created to promote sustainable winegrowing practices, identifies 227 “best practices for the environment and communities from grapes to glass”. No matter what practices, or how many, a vineyard implements, taking any steps towards sustainability is a step in the right direction! 

Of the over 546,000 acres of California vineyards, 73,000 have been certified by CCSW (Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing). To be certified, a winery or vineyard must evaluate their operation on the 227 “best practices”, meet at least 58 prerequisites from the “California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices Workbook”,and verify the authenticity of their self-assessment through a third-party audit. Once accepted into the CCSW program, vineyards and wineries must create and execute an annual action plan that moves their business towards continued improvement in the area of sustainability. 

Employing sustainable efforts is no longer limited to just farmlands; vineyards are seeing a transition to sustainability, as well. Don’t you want to do your part to save our planet’s resources by implementing sustainable practices with your winery and vineyard? You can visit the 
CCSW website for more information on how you, too, can take steps towards becoming a more sustainable operation for generations to come. N

ot sure you are ready to make that commitment? Join my email list to receive weekly blog posts highlighting California wineries and vineyards that have already made this commitment. 

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