Napa Vintners Embrace Fish Friendly Farming

pathway-under-clouds-and-blue-sky-1277181 (1)All of us here at Vinesse are proponents of protecting the environment. Yes, we’re a little bit selfish in that regard; we want there to be wonderful wines to enjoy for years and generations to come.

So we thought we’d turn over today’s blog to excepts from a media release that arrived from Michael Coats, detailing some exciting information about one of several environment-focused initiatives in California’s Napa Valley…

The Fish Friendly Farming Certification Program was designed to improve water quality and to restore and sustain habitat for federally listed threatened species like Chinook salmon and steelhead trout. In a stunning victory for fish, farming and our environment, Fish Friendly Farming (FFF) has already certified 90 percent of all Napa grape vineyards.
Salmon and trout are considered indicator species due to their sensitivity to human-induced impacts to their environment. They are sensitive to changes in water quality, quantity, temperature, turbidity and aquatic food webs. The decline of salmon and/or trout in a creek or stream can give an early warning of decline in the overall health of the environment. By focusing on improving conditions for salmon and trout, FFF takes a comprehensive approach to environmentally friendly land management.
The Fish Friendly Farming Certification Program is a certification program for farmers who implement land management practices that restore and sustain fish habitat on their property and improve water quality. It is an incentive program that rewards farmers for practicing beneficial management practices to protect fish habitat over the long term. FFF works on all the land in the watershed from the top of the ridge to the edges of the estuary.
Farmers have to comply with a complicated series of rules to achieve certification. FFF visits the farms and works with farmers to collect information on assessing erosion and native vegetation. They note how drainage systems work, how vineyards are winterized, and perform a complete road assessment. There is a labor and workforce element, a business practices element and green initiatives. They look at wells, which chemicals are used, and make sure farmers have legal surface water rights.

The farmer gets a list detailing what they need to do to implement their farm plan, along with a time frame to get the work done.
The technical experts for FFF, with input from the growers, complete a Farm Conservation Plan: a comprehensive history and assessment of natural resources, agricultural lands and management practices. The plan is a strategy for implementing Beneficial Management Practices and guides the improvement of projects for a specific property. Each plan is unique, addressing the features and needs of a particular property.

Today, the Fish Friendly Farming Certification Program is a smashing success. More than 90 percent of Napa vineyards have already been certified. It applies the best of modern science to protecting fish and in doing so helps protect the environment and produce higher quality grapes. It is clearly a win-win situation for California agriculture.

A listing of wineries that have all of their lands certified by Fish Friendly Farming reads like a Who’s Who of Napa, including Treasury, Sterling, Beaulieu Vineyards, Provenance, Beringer, Robert Mondavi, Trinchero Family/Sutter Home, Joseph Phelps, Silverado Vineyards, Clif Family winery, Cliff Lede Vineyards, Chateau Montelena, Domaine Chandon, Domaine Carneros, Long Meadow Ranch, Hall Wines, Charles Krug Winery, Boisset Family Estates, Frog’s Leap, Hess Collection, Saintsbury, Schramsberg, Silver Oak Cellars, Trefethen, and V. Sattui.

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Posted in Wine and the Environment
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