California’s Sonoma County has committed to becoming the nation’s first 100 percent sustainable wine region through a three-phased program to be completed within the next five years, the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, also known as Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW), say.
The first phase will focus on helping winegrowers assess their sustainable vineyard practices through trainings and educational sessions focused on more than 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 neighbor and community member. 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.
As vineyard acres are assessed, phase two will involve the Sonoma County Winegrowers working with vineyard owners to achieve certification. Once the winegrower program has kicked off, focus will be expanded to work with wineries and winemakers to roll out sustainability assessments and certification all with a goal of 100 percent sustainability for the wine industry in Sonoma County by 2019.
To ensure against greenwashing, SCW says it will use third-party verification and certification programs such as the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance’s Code of Sustainability. Another 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.
In October, Sonoma’s Clos du Bois Winery said it reduced its aeration pump electricity costs and produced a surplus of reusable energy during its field test of Cambrian Innovation’s wastewater treatment system, EcoVolt, which treated up to 10 percent of its total wastewater flow. The EcoVolt system treated 80 to 90 percent of the wastewater’s biological oxygen demand (BOD) while simultaneously generating high-quality methane fuel. The winery said it experienced a reduction in aeration pump electricity costs and a surplus of reusable energy.
Photo Credit: grapes on the vine via Shutterstock