Beyond Sustainable Wine: Tablas Creek’s Regenerative Agriculture Sets a Higher StandardDry. So first and foremost, wine lovers... 12 Gifts that Give Back: Gifts that Provide Even More Reason to Celebrate!This holiday season, why not spread a little holiday cheer to an even wider audience than just your giftee. SIP Certified provides a rigorous set of criteria based on social responsibility, safe pest management, and ecosystem stability. Keeping their feet in the vineyard and continually monitoring for harmful pests is a way of life for California winegrape growers. In an effort to reduce carbon footprints and keep their ranches economically viable, California winegrowers have adopted a number of energy-saving practices. It’s no wonder then that Tablas Creek was approached to be in the pilot program of the Regenerative Organic Certification™. The Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices Workbook. As conventional farming practices (adopted across agriculture-based industries) deplete the land and climate change create more and more untenable conditions for growers, sustainability increasingly encompasses, It’s estimated that by 2022, organic wine sales will. As farmers, many vintners know that by switching to more sustainable farming practices, they can revive their land, enjoy more plentiful harvests, and help reverse the ramifications of climate change that they themselves are suffering from like drought and wildfires. Their aversion to conventional farming dates back just as long, with the Perrin farmers using organic methods in the 1960s (before it was cool) to keep workers safe from toxic chemicals and to foster a healthy vineyard, and therefore, better grapes. Was it... How to Choose Good WineAs your friendly neighborhood wine professional will tell you, great wine is made in the vineyard. The future of sustainable vineyards is twofold. As farmers, many vintners know that by switching to more sustainable farming practices, they can revive their land, enjoy more plentiful harvests, and help reverse the ramifications of climate change that they themselves are suffering from like drought and wildfires. 4. Cliff Lede Vineyards. And those same practices perpetuate climate change while making it harder for the soil to take in greenhouse gases. By mapping their vineyards and keeping detailed records from year to year, growers anticipate when and where problems might occur. Sustainable winegrowing can include biodynamic or organic farming practices. Biodynamic practices treat each farm like its own living organism and highly value biodiversity, just like its regenerative organic counterpart. It also keeps vineyard workers from having to pick in the heat of the day. So, when looking for true sustainability, we want to look for the certifications that demand planet health, understand the practices required to meet their demands, and familiarize ourselves with the reasoning behind those demands. Drip lines can supply vines with just the right amount of water they need and in the right location to help focus energy into producing grape clusters, not excess leaves or vegetation. In 2017, four out of every five bottles of organic wine were sold in Europe, but as climate change continues to threaten wine growing regions in the United States, such as California, a shift is expected to farming that favors fewer pesticides (organic) and practices that prioritize soil health and land resiliency (sustainable). The biggest, the greatest, the coziest—all a part of my daily lexicon. If you’re unfamiliar, here’s a spark notes version on how wine is made: grapes are grown, harvested, crushed, and yeast is added or cultivated naturally. The reality is that in order to sustain the land that gives us the grapes we need to fill our glasses, vineyards have to be on the cutting edge of land care. with Ted Dintersmith of What Schools Could Be. While rows of healthy vines is a must for strong wine production, the health of those vines and the longevity of the land starts with the soil the vines sprout out of. Introduced in 2010 by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), Certified California Sustainable is a statewide certification program that provides third-party verification that a winery and/or vineyard adopts and implements stringent sustainable winegrowing requirements based on the industry’s code of best practices, and commits to continuous improvement in those areas. At Shannon Ridge, sheep ranching practices, also known as the Ovis Cycle, provide a harmonious relationship with Mother Nature; they are the framework for our sustainable vineyard practices.And as the seasons change, so do the sheep’s roles within the vineyard.. Spring has Sprung Although Tablas already had other agricultural certifications, he found it unique that the certification’s main goal is to combat climate change through farming. Jim Barbour and his partners, Matt Hardin, Nate George and Jesus Rios, work hand-in-hand with Napa Valley’s top winemakers in creating its treasured wines. That’s why the West Coast is such a crucial leader in sustainability for the rest of the wine industry. Promoting sustainable winegrowing since 1994, the Vineyard Team is an organization dedicated to sustainable farming through research, education, and grower-to-grower networking. As the general manager and a partner at Tablas Creek, Jason Haas is keenly aware of how the situation with the climate in California is deeply affecting wine growers. A little more detail to help you reimagine that vineyard to pictured earlier: At a Regenerative Organic vineyard, you might see vegetable gardens, trees planted throughout the property, composting heaps, animals roaming the land, and a plethora of birds and insects, all there as evidence of the vineyard’s key resource: healthy soil. Soft. On the consumer side, we’ve seen behavior, especially among millennials and Gen Z, trend towards sustainability. This is one of the reasons that Tablas has chosen to farm regeneratively and why they think it must be the, Tablas is equally owned by Jason Haas’s family and a family from France, the Perrins. Velvety. As Elizabeth Whitlow, the Executive Director of the Regenerative Organic Alliance told us, soil equals life. Planting a variety of cover crops between vineyard rows improves soil health naturally, prevents erosion, controls vine vigor, discourages weeds, and promotes the sustainable health of the vineyard. Growers consciously limit the passes that tractors and other equipment make through a vineyard to save fuel, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit soil compaction which can threaten the absorption of water and nutrients. From cellar doors, winery restaurants, bike trails to boutique vineyard accommodation, discover something new in a New Zealand wine region. (That’s the best part!). California grape growers use cover crops between vine rows to add nutrients, control vine growth, attract beneficial insects and prevent erosion. It’s estimated that by 2022, organic wine sales will top 1 billion bottles. Sustainability will grow in importance in people’s minds as climate change continues to become a reality. Conventional farming practices like monocropping, heavy chemical use, and the use of industrial machines, all make it harder for the soil to do its thing and nourish plants. Brilliant. Without healthy soil, those greenhouse gases persist in our environment and fuel climate change while the soil degrades into dust. The Forefront of Sustainable Vineyard Management. We raise sheep that help with weed-control in the vineyards lessening our use of … Smooth. Because they erode the natural potential of the farmland, conventional practices require a heavy dependence on herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. might not be organic. As Elizabeth Whitlow, the Executive Director of the. Pest problems are a fact of life in vineyard management, so California winegrowers have devised numerous methods for addressing pests using biological and/or cultural controls that minimize impacts to the environment. Grapes that arrive at the winery in a cool state are better able to retain their shape and acidic integrity–a key factor that influences the structure and ultimate wine quality. Sustainable Practices Environmentally sound and sustainable vineyard practices are at the core of our management philosophy. It consists of a chronological list of management actions, including regular vineyard monitoring activities. Sustainable vineyards are more resilient to extreme weather conditions because their healthy soil is better able to absorb water (making them better able to withstand heavy precipitation) and retain water (making them more drought-tolerant). Certification requires compliance both with 60 critical standards and 31 major standards. Specifically, this means no pesticides, no GMOs, and no synthetic fertilizers. Listen to Part One of this Series with Jason Haas, and Part Two with Jordon Lonborg here: Want to find something that will hold up 10, 50, 100 years from now? Unlike the certifications mentioned above that regulate the process with a more comprehensive approach to the agricultural process, organic is focused on treatment of the crops—what’s put in or on them to make them grow or look a certain way. But the industry operates at different speeds in different places. Beneath the surface, soil is teeming with healthy bacteria, nutrients, and microorganisms that all work together to nourish the plants we grow while capturing and sequestering harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Deliciously good news: we are talking about wine. , including all things Certified Regenerative Organic™: their shiny (albeit it dirt-y) new distinction. Buttery. Inga Zasada, Research Plant Pathologist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service is particularly interested in nematode management because Washington is mostly own rooted vines. Biodiversity builds long-term stability of the ecosystem by enhancing recycling of nutrients, encouraging pollination, controlling pests and disease, regulating water flow, enabling microclimate and storing of carbon. Sustainable vineyards are more resilient to extreme weather conditions because their healthy soil is better able to absorb water (making them better able to withstand heavy precipitation) and retain water (making them more drought-tolerant). Then the mixture ferments, converting the sugar of the grapes into alcohol. At Pedroncelli Winery, we practice sustainable winegrowing and, over the years, we have been reducing water use, building healthy soil, and protecting the vineyard environment. California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Workbook Growing winegrapes is a long term prospect; when well-managed, vineyards can have a life span of 25 years or more. Valley. As climate change continues to disrupt typical weather patterns, we can expect that these farms, built for resiliency, will prevail. Many vineyards are designed with green corridors to ensure that wildlife–deer, fox, coyote–have access to forestland and water. Enhancing and maintaining ecosystem integrity keeps soils and vines healthy and produces higher-quality winegrapes. The Vineyard Team is a model for other sustainable agriculture initiatives, and has earned awards and recognition from governmental, environmental and agricultural groups. The winemaking process today is generally the same as the first few glasses ever made more than 6,000 years ago. Develop sustainable water management practices for vineyards. Jason Haas and Jordan Lonborg of Tablas Creek Vineyard chatted about sustainability on the Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Podcast, including all things Certified Regenerative Organic™: their shiny (albeit it dirt-y) new distinction. Think about the ground, the vines, the grapes. Most winemakers use conventional farming practices to grow their grapes, which include unsustainable farming practices that erode the ground the grapes grow from. Next time you’re looking for a bottle of wine, take a moment to look at the label and learn more about where it’s coming from and how the winegrapes were made. Sustainability, an international, peer-reviewed Open Access journal. Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CCSW) is a certification program that provides verification by a third-party auditor that a winery or vineyard implements sustainable practices and continuous improvement. are located. If you want a very safe, look for something that’s spanned multiple historical eras. Without healthy soil, those greenhouse gases persist in our environment and fuel climate change while the soil degrades into dust. Spicy. Owners Bill and Brenda Murphy are especially vested in the sustainability of the vineyard and winery—creating a legacy for their children, grandchildren and generations to come. 3. California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance Certification. Sustainable vineyards are securing full glasses for centuries to come through farming and production practices that prioritize planet health. Many growers have invested in more energy-efficient pumps, and also installed flow meters to track water use and cost-effective pumping. Dodson, J. et al. While it’s not necessarily top of mind for wine growers to change their behavior to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, they’re definitely noticing changes like earlier crop harvests and dramatic temperature changes. While the pictures we’ve come to recognize may look polished, the tidiness of those rows may need to look a little different than you pictured in order to yield the most flavorful grapes and to ensure the land can continue producing high-quality grapes year after year. weekly) of pest activity. This means that inputs are used minimally and only when absolutely necessary to support natural controls. Sustainable Vineyard Floor Management Justin Scheiner, Ph.D. Assistant Professor and Extension Viticulture Specialist • the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level. On the production side, wineries are facing the unique realities of climate change, especially in California where 50% of the U.S.-based vineyards are located. Still, water is a precious natural resource here, and using it wisely is a priority for California’s winegrowers. Markus was named one of 20 Most Admired Grape Growers in North America by Wine and Vineyard Management Magazine, highlighting his work and his passion. About the Sustainable Ag Expo ... Luis Obispo but has gone virtual this year due to COVID. Tablas is equally owned by Jason Haas’s family and a family from France, the Perrins. Consumer demand for organic indicates a concern for farming practices in wine choices, and excitingly, the wine industry has long surpassed mere organic standards in its charge for sustainability. Take a second to briefly picture where your wine comes from. Each question is followed by four (4) options ordered on a sustainable scale, with “1” being the most desired (i.e. similarly focuses on overall impact in terms of resource use, community involvement, and ethical supply chains rather than actual farming practices. The Best Patagonia Jackets: Your Guide to the Best of the BestI'm a big fan of superlatives. Ideal wine country stuff, right? This Sustainability in Practice certification extends beyond organic and biodynamic to incorporate other earth-saving measures like energy efficiency and water conservation. Because most California vineyards are in rural areas, managing a vineyard involves caring for not only the vines but also the surrounding habitat. A couple of California-specific certification programs give sustainable vineyards the credit they deserve. A vineyard management plan provides a framework for documenting grape growing details. Sustainable wine refers to the farming and winemaking practices that winegrowers follow, Meraviglia says. Beyond organics is where sustainability comes into play with resource management in terms water and energy efficiency in the vineyard and winery. You may also see “Made With Organic Grapes.” This language simply means that the grapes themselves were made organically, but the additives like yeast might not be organic. Find certified Wines, Wineries, and Vineyards HERE. What is Sustainability in the Wine Industry? In other words, letting the earth do what it does best—sustain life. In the wine industry, certifications are crucial to understand the exact practices underway that move grapes from vine to glass. Sustainable Vineyard Being a good steward of land and resources is a key practice in Clos LaChance’s wine making and wine growing philosophy. Why change a great thing? Sustainable vineyards prioritize more than their actual farming practices, veering into general resource conservation and human justice as well. Wine Australia-funded research has focused on identifying environmentally sustainable inputs to viticulture and technologies that allow reductions in vineyard labour, without compromising grape quality. Elegant. Today, that means improving winegrowing practices to prioritize environmental stewardship, social equity, and help in the fight against climate change. 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