Just two years ago, the Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW) announced its ambitious goal to become the nation’s first 100 percent sustainable wine-growing region.
As a result, the organization was recently recognized with the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA) – considered California’s highest environmental honor.
“It's an incredible honor to win the Governor’s premier award for environmental leadership and it validates the depth of our sustainability program that focuses on being socially responsible, environmentally conscientious, and economically viable,” said SCW President Karissa Kruse.
The award was presented Jan. 20 to Kruse and members of the group’s executive committee at the California Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Sacramento.
Kruse added, “This recognition is a testament to the dedication and leadership of our 1,800 grape growers who have worked tirelessly to ensure we positively impact our community and preserve agriculture here in Sonoma County.”
The GEELA program recognizes individuals, organizations, and businesses which have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made notable contributions to conserve California's precious resources, protecting and enhancing the environment, and building public-private partnerships.
The annual award is administered by different California government agencies.
“I congratulate Sonoma County Winegrowers on this recognition of their remarkable commitment to the Sustainable Winegrowing Program,” said Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
“It is a fitting tribute to the dedicated and collaborative efforts of grape growers throughout the county,” Ross said.
Earlier this month, Kruse announced the SCW would focus on social sustainability to support the wine community’s skilled workforce and their families. To help accomplish this goal, the Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation will be re-launched.
The foundation’s first efforts are designed to help bridge the gap between existing programs and the individuals who should benefit in the areas of healthcare, affordable housing, childcare, and education.