Sonoma County: A Sustainable Winegrowing Hub


It is a truly amazing statistic. Frankly, it’s difficult even to fathom.

Five years ago, when the Sonoma County Winegrowers organization announced that its 1,800-plus winegrowers were committing to becoming the nation’s first 100% certified sustainable wine region, I was highly skeptical.

First of all, even though many of those growers already were embracing sustainable practices, only a few were “already there.” Virtually all of them would need to do something… make some change… in order to be considered truly sustainable in their farming.

Then there was the matter of getting 18 people on the same page about anything, let alone eighteen hundred.

So when Karissa Kruse, President of the Sonoma County Winegrowers, recently announced that Sonoma County now has a record-breaking 99% of its local vineyards certified sustainable, I was flabbergasted. Not to mention impressed.

But the growers are not stopping there. Now, SCW members will become participants in the California Land Stewardship Institute’s Climate Adaptation Certification Program, the first program of its kind for agriculture.

“When our leadership realized that 99% of the vineyards in Sonoma County were going to be certified sustainable, they began looking ahead and identified climate adaptation certification as the next natural step for Sonoma County Winegrowers,” Kruse said in a news release.

“Climate change is a critical threat, yet there is little information available on the role agriculture can play. This program addresses that by focusing on the importance of local solutions to combat a global concern. We are excited that this new certification program highlights the unique role and opportunity agriculture and local communities have in climate adaptation and mitigation.”

The program calls for each participating vineyard in Sonoma County to have its own land management program “developed specifically to address the sequestration of nitrous oxide and carbon emissions. The greenhouse gas reductions will be monitored and documented, with the information shared with farmers and the general public.”

Whereas some wine regions are dominated by large international corporations, Sonoma County’s wine industry continues to be comprised of multi-generational family businesses. Those are the people who achieved the amazing sustainable agriculture milestone and now are turning their attention to climate change.

Congratulations to all involved… and keep up the great work!

If you’d like to learn more about SCW’s sustainability and climate change efforts, click here.

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Posted in Wine and the Environment
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