Impressive news, although its ambitiousness is probably more what strikes me than an understanding of what is actually meant by being 100% sustainable. In any case, here is the press release issued by the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, and it does throw some light on how this sustainability will be implemented in practical terms.
Click here to read the full press release.
The main points are listed below (and I’m quoting from the press release):
- Sonoma County is committed to becoming the first 100% sustainable wine region in the United States through a three-phased program to be completed within the next five years.
- The first phase of this effort will focus on helping winegrowers assess their sustainable vineyard practices through trainings and educational sessions focused on over 200 best management practices such as land use, canopy management, energy efficiency, water quality assessments, carbon emissions; healthcare and training for employees and being a good neighbour and community member. Although many vineyards and wineries are already implementing sustainable practices, the goal is to assess and collect the assessment data of 15,000 vineyard acres per year for the next four years until every acre of planted vines are under assessment for sustainability.
- Phase two will involve the Sonoma County Winegrowers working with vineyard owners to achieve certification. To ensure against “greenwashing”, third-party verification and certification programs will be used, focused on environmental, social and economic viability and continuous improvement.
- Another critically important factor to this initiative is transparency, which will be accomplished through regular progress updates, an annual Sonoma County Wine Region Sustainability Report Card and a vineyard and winery real-time tracker on the SCW website.
Sonoma County has some of the world’s most prized grape-growing areas in the world with the first vineyards dating back to the 1820s. The region’s unique combination of rich geological history, fog patterns generated by its 70-mile Pacific Ocean coastline, and topography has given rise to 16 unique American Viticultural Areas (AVA) that house about 500 wineries. Each AVA offers distinct climate, soils and temperature areas perfect for growing world-class Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and more.