The Central Coast Vineyard Team is at the forefront of green viticulture, comprising an active network of local farmers committed to best practice wine-making. For nearly 15 years the Team has been developing and promoting sustainable methods of farming within the region. But even better, they have a profitable business model that produces flavorsome wine grapes whilst putting the environment first. It is a leading practice setting admirable standards in the wine industry.
The Team is a non-profit outfit; a collaborative partnership of scientists, growers, wine makers, researchers and natural resource professionals. Their mission is to promote sustainable winegrowing and they work in a dynamic industry that requires flexibility and innovation to tackle the complexities of environmental management. The diversity of programs undertaken by the Team and the ever-evolving nature of their practice has given them a wide range of experience, and now, the wines and the Team’s reputation are reaping the rewards.
The Team has been recognized as an innovative leader by regulatory agencies, educators, and environmental activists and has received awards from the US Environmental Protection Agency, CA Department of Pesticide Regulation, Regional Water Quality Control Board, SLO Community Foundation, and the SLO Air Pollution Control Board – as reported on their website.
Their unique practice encourages the use of natural means in vineyard management. For example, the Team promotes biologic diversity (both above and below ground), efficient use of energy and water, and farming within the context of the unique landscape, all in the spirit of a system’s approach that reduces the needs for synthetic inputs. Soon, some of these methods will undergo an official certification process for the benefit of the farmers and ongoing industry development. Their robust certification standards not only address a multitude of environmental resource issues, but also include chapters on their valuable human resources. (or something like that).
The Team runs a number of programs in support of their mission. The website canvases a great range of such initiatives, including the Biologically Integrated Farming Project, a Spanish Program for workers and the most recent initiative the Water Stewardship program. The latter project, for example, focuses on erosion control, organophosphate reduction and the development of alternatives to simazine, which has been directly linked to ground water contamination.
Other co-ops and individual farms are also changing their practices to include more sustainable viticulture mechanisms. For example, the Lodi Woodbridge Winegrape Commission, that provides grower outreach programs and field implementation strategies. From a short analysis of this emerging industry it appears that the Central Coast Vineyard Team has some cutting edge programs and a well-rounded approach to sustainability.
“Sip to the good life” is the Team’s motto which delightfully encompasses their approach. They have demonstrated a commitment to sustainable practices for the benefit of the environments, whilst considering business motivations, community development and importance of dynamism in the modern farming world. We will keep a close on their latest innovations for a follow up in the coming months.