Sustainable Farming Sign Todd Fitchette

Sonoma County Winegrowers establish 'Center For Ag Sustainability'

Sonoma County Winegrowers are quickly closing in on their goal of becoming the nation’s first fully sustainable wine region by 2019.

According to the latest report card published in the Sonoma County Winegrowers’ 3rd Annual Sustainability Report, farmers representing 85 percent of the county’s vineyard acres have completed the sustainability self-assessment. This is the first step in achieving certification.

Already more than 34,000 acres or 60 percent of the county’s vineyard acreage is certified sustainable.

To boost its position as a global leader for sustainable winegrowing, the organization will establish the Sonoma County Center for Ag Sustainability to help wine grape growers identify and focus on the most challenging problems facing the local wine community.

“We have long recognized that our job as farmers is to preserve and protect our agricultural legacy and way of life for future generations,” says Sonoma County Winegrowers President Karissa Kruse.

“The reality is that Ag is on the brink of a crisis,” she continues. “Not only are thousands of acres of farmland being lost to development in California every year, but there are serious threats to the financial viability of our businesses due to increased regulations, rising labor costs, new overtime requirements, drought and more.”

The Sonoma County Center for Ag Sustainability will be a think tank to help develop innovative ideas and strategies to strengthen and build upon the region’s sustainability efforts.

According to the new Sonoma County Winegrowers’ 3rd Annual Sustainability Report:

  • 49,577 vineyard acres (85 percent) of Sonoma County’s 58,235 vineyard acres have been sustainably self-assessed;
  • 34,654 vineyard acres (60%) of Sonoma County’s 58,235 vineyard acres have been certified sustainable by a third-party audit;
  • More than 1,200 vineyard properties in Sonoma County are sustainable by either completing their sustainability self-assessment or receiving third party certification; and,
  • More than 40 wineries are certified sustainable.

As it closes in on 100% sustainability, the Sonoma County Winegrowers will continue to work with four sustainability programs, all of which offer certification from an independent third party auditor:

  • California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA);
  • Fish Friendly Farming;
  • Lodi Rules; and,
  • Sustainable in Practice (SIP)

The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, also known as Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW), was established in 2006 as a marketing and educational organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier grape growing regions.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture provides oversight of the organization and its 1,800 growers.

 

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