The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission (SCWC) is determined to protect and preserve the region’s wine industry. The SCWC, founded in 2006, recently announced its 100-year business plan to preserve agriculture in Sonoma County, California, namely growing wine grapes.
The wine industry is important for Sonoma County. In 2012, the wine industry contributed $1.4 billion to the local economy and accounted for 1 in 3 jobs. Over 1,800 growers are a part of the SCWC.
The area is no stranger to sustainability: Last year, it announced plans to be the nation’s first sustainable wine growing region by 2019. The region has reached one-third of its target in just one year. The winegrape growers are following a sustainability program as well, which focuses on 138 farming and business practices, including land use, energy efficiency, water quality assessments and carbon emissions.
Over 43 percent of the county’s vineyard acres have completed a sustainability assessment, and 33 percent are certified under a third-party auditor program. Over 950 winegrape growers have attended sustainability-related events.
“Last year when we announced our intent to be 100-percent sustainable by 2019, it was always viewed as the starting point, not the end goal,” said Karissa Kruse, president of the Sonoma County Winegrowers, in a statement. “It is our job as farmers to be caretakers of the land in Sonoma County and preserve our agricultural legacy and way of life for future generations. Just as we inherited the land from previous generations, we have a fundamental responsibility to make the land better for those who inherit it from us."
Jackson Family Wines (JFW) has wineries in six coastal California counties. All of JFW’s vineyard acres and wineries are certified sustainable by the California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing and the Sustainability in Practice (SIP) programs. JFW has implemented a number of sustainability measures. Some of those measures include retrofitting lighting systems and installing more efficient HVAC, conveyors, pumps, air compressors, cooling and refrigeration systems. In 2013, JFW started to invest in rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, and by the end of 2016 it plans to install seven megawatts across nine of its wineries. That will be enough to to supply over 50 percent of JFW’s electricity needs, equivalent to the energy needed to power 1,400 homes.
Image credit: Mike Boening Photography
Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.