Vineyards and wineries are increasingly considering how to embrace more sustainable practices in every aspect of how they farm, the products they create, and the services and approaches they make use of. The list of aspects that can be become permit increased sustainability range from vineyard farming practices to the winery operations, to the distribution of the final packaged goods.
Several of the sessions at this year’s North Coast White wine Market Expo (WIN Exposition) turn on the theme of sustainability. Karrissa Kruse, President of the Sonoma County Winegrowers, has actually been working tirelessly with the white wine industry for several years on the issue, and will be on the panel for the session: Vineyard of the Future: Integrating Technology and Autonomy to Improve Success.
Kruse says, “When Sonoma County Winegrowers made its commitment to be 100% licensed sustainable back in 2014, sustainability did not have the assistance or large sweeping pervasiveness that it takes pleasure in today in the wine community. Almost a years later on, regional grape growers in Sonoma County have not just accepted sustainability as a method to best practices in all elements of their farming company, however they continue to ask the question “what’s next?” for development and climate stewardship.”
The thirst for understanding, consisting of formal accreditation, is originating from within the market, which is the only method it can continue to grow. Allison Jordan, Executive Director of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, will remain in the panel Exploring Water Conserving Practices in the Vineyard.
Through the pandemic and several wildfires in California, Jordan a slowdown in applications. However, there is still ongoing interest in certification within California. She showcases the stats, stating, “Qualified California Sustainable Winegrowing was first introduced in 2010 and certification has actually continued to grow year over year in the previous 5 years. From 2017 to 2021, we saw a 118% boost in the number of Certified California Sustainable Vineyards and a 40% increase in the variety of Licensed California Sustainable Wineries. Our 2022 numbers will be launched in early 2023.”
As for translating that into wineries and acres, she notes, “Currently, 178 Qualified California Sustainable Wineries produced 255 million cases (80% of California wine) and 2,402 Certified California Sustainable Vineyards farm 204,857 acres (33% of California white wine grape acres). Another 22% of vineyards are certified to other California sustainability certifications.”
Greenhouse gas emissions is a typical beginning point in the quest for sustainability. Josh Prigge, Chief Commercial Officer & & Sustainability Expert for Sustridge Sustainability Consulting notes that, “The most common thing I’m asked is to quantify greenhouse gas emissions. It’s the most essential initial step. You can’t manage what you don’t determine.”
Prigge will sharing his insights in the session: Tech & & Sustainability: The White wine Market’s New Power Couple. He further explains, “Quantifying, tracking, and reporting are something companies have not necessarily been doing. A great deal of facilities are beginning to do this throughout all locations of their production.”
It was this quest to comprehend emissions, according to Kruse, that “led Sonoma County Winegrowers to be the special pilot partner for the Environment Adjustment Accreditation with the California Land Stewardship Institute, finding out the best way to sequester carbon on their entire ranch and the farming operations that lead to lowering GHG emissions.”
Jason Haas, partner and general manager of Tablas Creek Vineyard showcases that Tablas Creek Vineyard was caused biodynamic farming in 2010 and has expanded that to include using grey water for watering and dust control, being mainly dry-farmed (reducing our ground water use by 80% compared to normal in Paso Robles, CA) and is now 100% solar-powered.
Haas will be on the panel discussing Minimizing Your Carbon Footprint: New Approaches to Product Packaging Driven by Eco-Responsibility, and states that on the product packaging side, Tablas Creek Vineyard has made a mindful push to reduce the footprint of their containers.
“This has included moving to lightweight bottles in 2010 (which has conserved almost 2 million pounds of glass), beginning to package wine in zero-waste recyclable stainless steel kegs in 2011, moving from 6-bottle cases to specifically 12-bottles cases (decreasing cardboard usage by nearly 50%) in 2012, and simply this year in putting 3 of our red wines in 3L bag-in-box, saving 84% of the carbon footprint of the exact same volume in glass bottles.”
Haas explains, “Considered that the glass bottle accounts for majority of the carbon footprint of the average California winery, it’s vital that we continue to try to find methods to lessen its effect.
Prigge acknowledges that the back end is driving a few of the modifications, as big, powerful outlets are having customers inquire to source items that are sustainably produced. “A lot is taking place throughout all aspect of a company’s operations, including input from both consumers and retailers. Consumers wish to buy from more sustainable wineries. Large corporations are seeking to their providers concerning sustainability. Business buying from bigger vineyards are being asked what they are doing to become certified. There is a guaranteed trickle-down impact.”
Innovation within the sustainability realm is a an all-time high, and with this in mind, Kruse discusses their partnership with Ford Pro:
“Working with Ford Pro, Sonoma County Winegrowers will be learning how to move towards electric automobiles, fleet management optimization and how they can play a bigger function in lowering using fossil fuels and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. This innovative new effort will make farming in Sonoma County and around the nation even more sustainable. Our intent is for Sonoma County to be an active case study with brand-new corporate collaborations similar to what we have with Ford Pro and a living lab for the world to enable us to attain our objective.”
Capture the following WIN Expo sessions checking out brand-new choices for sustainability within the wine market, on December 1st at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds:
Providing a well-rounded view of the wine market, Dawn Dolan transitioned from doing administration for the University of Michigan, to investing 6 years as both Marketing and Wholesale Supervisor for the Wilson Craftsmen White wines group, where she learned the ins and outs of the red wine market. Dolan explains herself as a Zinfandel grape grower who has also been an amateur wine maker for fifteen years. She learned viticultural and winemaking methods from participating in classes at the Santa Rosa Junior College, along with from the professional winemakers with whom she has actually worked. With this multi-faceted experience in the wine world, she brings a consideration of different perspectives to her work.
Dolan began Dolan Wine Business Consulting, a personal marketing consultancy, 8 years earlier. She works with wineries and a variety of wine country businesses. She has actually been contributing to Wine Industry Consultant given that 2015.