Even in this enlightened environmental age, it’s difficult to imagine four or five neighboring wineries all adopting sustainable practices. There still are too many owners who either haven’t bought into the concept, or find the task of overhauling their long-established farming methods to be too daunting.
That reality is what makes the recent announcement by the leader of the Sonoma County Winegrowers trade organization almost unfathomable. According to this report from Wines & Vines, SCW President Karissa Kruse wants to have all of the county’s vineyards certified sustainable within five years.
“We realized it was really time for Sonoma County to put a stake in the ground as a leader in sustainability,” Kruse was quoted as saying.
The goal is at least partially motivated by commerce — and there’s nothing wrong with that. Kruse and many others in the wine industry understand that growing numbers of consumers seek out products produced by sustainable means whenever they can. If all of the vineyards were certified sustainable, it would provide a tremendous branding opportunity for Sonoma County.
SCW intends to embrace the standards of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. Presently, according to Wines & Vines, about 60% of Sonoma County’s vineyards are “in assessment for sustainability programs.”