April 22, 2009

California Wines Going Green

Happy Earth Day! In honor of mother nature, I felt I should re-post this story from San Jose Mercury News. It's a good read about how California wineries are making attempts at going green, which means we can feel better about all we are consuming!

By Laurie Daniel
for the Mercury News
Posted: 04/21/2009 05:00:00 PM PDT

Earth Day is here, and a lot of California wineries are taking the opportunity to trumpet how they've gone "green."

Some have installed solar systems; others are packaging their wines in lightweight, recyclable cartons or bag-in-box containers that require less fuel to transport. But perhaps most important, they're putting out the word that they're growing their grapes organically, biodynamically or sustainably.

There have long been certification programs for organic and biodynamic viticulture. Sustainable viticulture in California, however, had relied largely on self-assessment programs like the Sustainable Winegrowing Program put together by the Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers.

While supporters argue that self-assessment programs are valuable, the lack of certification led some critics to complain that the term "sustainable" was too vague. Any winery could claim to be operating sustainably. Some were criticized in the industry for "greenwashing," or marketing themselves as more green than they truly were. But in recent years, a few regional organizations have put together third-party certification programs for vineyards that are being farmed with sustainable practices. These programs go beyond rules about the use of herbicides and pesticides to encompass such things as water and energy conservation, watershed preservation, air quality and treatment of workers.