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Sonoma County to be first completely sustainable US wine region

Published:  16 January, 2014

The Sonoma County Winegrowers announced yesterday a three phased plan that will make Sonoma County the first 100% sustainable wine region in the US.

The Sonoma County Winegrowers announced yesterday a three-phased plan that will make Sonoma County the first 100% sustainable wine region in the US.

The Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW), also known as the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, which represents 1,800 wine growers throughout the wine region, expects that all 59,218 acres of vines will be assessed and successfully complete sustainability certification in the next five years.

SWC president Karissa Kruse, said: "Our county's grape growers and winemakers have long been at the forefront of creating and utilising 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 first phase of the programme will focus on education on the best 200 management practices covering topics such as land use, water quality assessment, carbon emissions, and energy efficiency. The best practices have been identified by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance's Code of Sustainability. The codes will then be used to assess that all the growers have adopted sustainable practices by an independent third-party certification administrator.

The plan will be to assess 15,000 acres per year over the next four years to ensure that all growers and vineyards have adopted and adhere to the sustainability guidelines.

Duff Bevill, of Bevill Vineyard Management, said: "Having spent the last 40 years farming around a thousand acres of vineyards throughout Sonoma County, I am really excited to participate in this major initiative to make our county 100% sustainable. I have long felt that sustainability is the best approach to ensure we protect our land for future generations, improve the quality of life for our employees, and enhance the community where we live and work."

Both large corporate producers and smaller growers in the region seem to be supportive of the initiative, which is also a good branding opportunity for Sonoma wines.

Katie Jackson, of Jackson Family Wines, said:  "Today's wine consumers are passionate about sustainability and support brands who share their values, so I am truly excited about this initiative and proud to know that soon our efforts will be displayed in each bottle of wine labeled Sonoma County."