One-hundred percent sustainable grape growth is both a noble and grand goal, with Sonoma County Winegrowers planning to get there by 2019. If it achieves its ambition, the group of 1800 businesses spreading out over almost 60,000 acres will be the first region in the entire world to be environmentally sound.
Karissa Kruse, president of Sonoma County Winegrowers remarked:
“Our county’s grape growers and winemakers have long been at the forefront of creating and utilizing sustainable practices in the vineyard, in the winery and in running their businesses, so this is the next natural step in their continued evolution.”
The group of grape growers plans to accomplish this grand plan with the following steps, divided into two phases:
- Utilizing canopy management, water use, water quality, carbon emissions, energy efficiency and healthcare and employee training 15,000 acres at a time until all 59,218 – 6 % of the county’s total acreage – is totally sustainable.
- It will achieve sustainability certification from a third party, such as the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance Code of Sustainability, reporting on its achievements and milestones online, real-time at the Winegrower’s website, as well as their Facebook page.
“The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, also known as Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW), announced today that Sonoma County is committed to becoming the nation’s first 100% sustainable wine region through a three-phased program to be completed within the next five years. Although many of the region’s multigenerational wine growers and winemakers have been practicing sustainable farming techniques and winemaking practices for decades, this initiative demonstrates their seriousness and commitment to ensuring all vineyards and wineries across Sonoma County will soon be sustainable.”
With 17 distinct climate zones, it will take some finesse to make the system work in all regions of Sonoma, but this is what gives Sonoma wines their distinct taste and aroma. It will never be so good to say ‘cheers’ while sipping a full-bodied, organic, sustainable wine.
With the soil suffering from harsh pesticides and GMOs taking over the food supply, it is more important than ever to move toward a fully sustainable, organic farming lifestyle. On a total of about 20 million acres managed by over 35 million families, for example, Russians are carrying on an old-world technique, which we Americans might learn from. They are growing their own organic crops using ‘old-world techniques’- and it’s working.
Kudos to Sonoma for working toward 100% sustainable vineyards.