Green Friday: The tragedy of Haiti and a sustainability standard for California winemakers - The Packer

Green Friday: The tragedy of Haiti and a sustainability standard for California winemakers

01/15/2010 10:41:20 AM
Tom Karst

Here is an excerpt:

New Certification makes it Easier to Find Green California Wines

Finding sustainably produced California wine is about to get a whole lot easier. reports that the Wine Institute is set to launch what it's calling the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing Program -- a third-party certification program that will make it easier for consumers to buy sustainable wines. The terms? No pesticides, grow cover crops, reduce waste and energy use, provide all workers with health insurance, and be "mindful" of non-agricultural neighbors.

It's taken nearly a decade to get the program up and running, but the introduction of sustainability certification is not unexpected given public interest in sustainably produced products, says Chris Savage, director of environmental affairs at Gallo Wines:

    People do want to know that the products they purchase are grown and produced in some sort of sustainable fashion. Our expectation is it will become even more important in the future.

It has become enough of an issue that the growers responsible for about 62 percent of all wine produced in California have signed up for the program. Given that California is the fourth largest wine producing region in the world (behind Italy, France, and Spain), the certification is a big step forward. There are already similar programs in place in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, and both Oregon and Washington have programs to protect the environment.

Although winemakers will be able to advertise that they are certified sustainable under this new program, there's no label in the works at the moment -- so sustainability conscious consumers will have to do their homework before they shop.

Here is coverage from the San Francisco Chronicle:

California wine's efforts to go green got a big push Wednesday when the industry unveiled a certification program for its sustainable practices.

The wine industry has for years been pushing its green credentials by letting wineries evaluate their own progress on everything from less use of water to carpooling. Wineries were left to assess their own efforts under a sort of self-help quiz that offered a lengthy list of possible green efforts. But if you're a green winery by your own declaration, critics have asked, so what?

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