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Green Wineries

by Staff Writer - C. Barnett | March 04, 2012

Many wineries practice some degree of sustainable or organic farming. The main threats to sustaining a Green Winery are the issues of soil depletion, erosion, water pollution, ecological impacts, resistance to pests and chemical dependence. Maintaining a Green Winery is not an easy process to undertake.

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) developed a third-party certification program related to the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program (SWP) to increase the sustainability of the California wine industry by promoting the adoption of sustainable practices and ensuring continual improvement. The goals of the certification program are to enhance transparency, encourage statewide participation and advance the wine industry in the direction of best practices in environmental stewardship, conservation of natural resources and socially equitable business practices.

State agencies such as Oregon Certified Sustainable Wine (OCSW) and California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) list participating wineries and vineyards on their websites. The wineries listed must observe the philosophies and practices of each respected organization. These organizations have high standards to ensure honest viticulture efforts and boost consumer confidence.

There are some locations with Stand-Out Green Winery Practices already in place:

California

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California is one of the highest ranking states regarding wine production. To put strength behind their Green Winery practices, California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance brings together regional vineyards and wineries, who work to produce high quality grapes while being good overseers of the land, vegetation, and local community. There are alos individual wineries who are taking their own steps toward using Green Winery Practices: Fetzer Vineyards is powered solely by renewable energy (100% of energy used is from renewable resources such as solar, wind and geothermal energy); Frey Winery produces wines that are certified biodynamic, organic, and vegan; and Frog's Leap Winery uses solar power (using photovoltaic solar panels) and geothermal heating and cooling. Parducci Winery (Mendocino County) uses 100% solar and wind power, making it America's first carbon-neutral winery. California holds a Green Wine Summit, where wine producers attend sessions that are focused on Green Winery practices, business plans (including marketing and sales) and customers.

Oregon

Oregon's widely varying climate lets winemakers produce warm and cold climate varietals with equal success. It is noted that more than a quarter of the acreage used for vineyards in Oregon are cultivated with sustainable or biodynamic practices. Oregon vineyards are able to obtain education and certification for vineyards and wineries from LIVE Certification (from Low Impact Viticulture and Enology, Inc.). They confirm that wineries follow guidelines for plant protection, biodiversity, and low-impact farming. In partnership with certification agencies throughout the State of Oregon, the Oregon Wine Board has created a unifying platform and certification logo to help consumers easily identify and purchase sustainable wines. The Oregon Certified Sustainable Wine (OCSW) logo guarantees that the wine in the bottle was made using responsible agriculture and winemaking, both certified by an independent third party.

Australia

Australia may be known for its blended wines from organic grapes across the continent, but some of the biggest strides are being moved forward in the western part of the country. Random Valley Winery is in a region that has mild and warm winters because of its equal distance from two oceans. This Green Winery produces organic, chemical-free wines and is in the process of replacing its insulation with water-filled bottles monitored by thermal imagery. Serventy Winery is the oldest organic vineyard in Western Australia and it is certified by the National Association of Sustainable Agriculture, Australia (NASAA), who audits the growing process on an annual basis. Harris Organic Wines is the only certified organic winery in the Swan Valley in Western Australia where they do not irrigate vineyards but their vines are raised to grow on rainfall alone.

France

Some French vineyards are concentrating on the packaging and using a product called ‘tetrapacks’ which ship wine using a fraction of the energy of glass bottles. Other French Wineries are trying to help with a carbon dioxide break, by shipping their wine by boat instead of truck or plane. At Boisset Winery, 100% of their estate vineyards have converted to organic farming and some practice biodynamic farming. France is hoping that these types of Green Winery changes will keep France on the cutting edge of Green Winery production.

Becoming and maintaining a winery as a Green Winery takes constant practice and preparation. With new programs being developed to assist wineries the hope is that their goal will be achieved. The small but meaningful effort that the consumer can do to help on this cause is to remember to recycle their wine bottle when they are done enjoying their wine.

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    • ABBY VAN STEENHUYSE
      Jul 21 2012 5:37 PM
    • This information is exactly what I have been looking for. I have recently been overhauling what food I buy depending on how it has been farmed, raised, packaged, etc. Knowing that there are options in the wine world is wonderful, thanks GrapeHeaven!

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