Sonoma County Winegrowers Add Agroecology and Sustainability Expertise

Sonoma County Winegrowers Add Agroecology and Sustainability Expertise

Guerneville Native, Emily Lambert Farrant, Named Sustainability Manager

Nearly three years since making a bold commitment to become America’s first 100% sustainable wine region, the Sonoma County Winegrowers are rapidly moving closer to their goal and gaining global recognition for their leadership. As a result of this progress, the organization has expanded the resources for its local winegrape growers with the hiring of Emily Lambert Farrant as its new Sustainability Manager.

Farrant, an agroecology and environmental sustainability professional, joins Robert LaVine, who will transition into a sustainability consultant role, to work with the region’s growers to build on the organization’s success and meet its goal of 100% sustainability.   

“One of the hallmarks of our sustainability program has been providing all of our growers with support, insight and expertise to aid their efforts to successfully become certified sustainable,” said Karissa Kruse, president of Sonoma County Winegrowers.  “As our sustainability program evolves we are so fortunate to add the unique background and skill set that Emily brings to our team that will provide added resources and knowledge to our grower community. Not only will she be able to help us to meet our 2019 target, but her expertise and experiences will greatly aid our efforts in making our 100 Year Business Plan truly actionable.”

Farrant is the fifth-generation of a Sonoma County farming family whose great-grandparents were long time apple growers. She grew up near that farm in Guerneville where she enjoyed gardening, fishing and hunting - activities that most grape growers can appreciate. Today she volunteers in the local community, including coaching the El Molino High School girls’ varsity soccer team.

In addition to her strong connection and love for Sonoma County, she also has a unique international sustainability perspective which has been acquired throughout her professional career.  Over the past five years, she has worked in 14 countries across four continents, including Africa, Asia, North America, and Europe. She most recently worked at Greeneye Partners, one of the world’s most influential environment, health and safety consulting firms in the electronics recycling industry.  Farrant’s strong tenacity, work ethic, and passion for sustainability helped pave her way to successfully navigate different cultures, corporate structures, employee dynamics, and other aspects of a client’s business to confirm and educate them on implementation of their product certifications for recycling.  Prior to that, Farrant worked globally on behalf of both the Gates Foundation and the Clinton Foundation in Ghana working on sustainability and environmental health issues. 

“I feel so lucky to be joining Sonoma County Winegrowers as the sustainability manager.  I have been following the program’s success since it was first launched and when I learned of the job opportunity it was truly a dream come true for me,” said Farrant.  

The addition of Farrant to the Sonoma County Winegrowers team will enable Robert LaVine to transition into a consultant’s role.  LaVine, a well-respected viticulturist, joined Sonoma County Winegrowers in 2014 soon after the organization unveiled its sustainability initiative. Over the past two and a half years, he helped implement the sustainability self-assessment and certification process for growers in Sonoma County. He will continue to provide one-on-one grower assessments and participate in grower workshops throughout the year.

“We have been so fortunate to have ‘Coach Bob’ on our team the past two years to assist growers with their self-assessment and certification process,” said Kruse.  “He’s been a big part of our early success and we look forward to this next chapter of our commitment with more resources and global sustainability experience that will take our program to the next level.”

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About Sonoma County Winegrowers:

The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, also known as Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW), was established in 2006 as a marketing and educational organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier grape growing regions. SCW has oversight by California Department of Food and Agriculture which supports producer regions. With more than 1,800 growers, SCW’s goal is to increase awareness and recognition of the quality and diversity of Sonoma County’s grapes and wines through dynamic marketing and educational programs targeted to wine consumers around the world.

 

In January 2014, SCW committed to becoming the nation’s first 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019. As of December 2015, 64% of the vineyard acreage in Sonoma County has gone through the sustainability self-assessment and 48% of vineyards are certified by a third party auditor.  These sustainability efforts were recently recognized with California’s highest environmental honor, the 2016 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA).  Learn more at www.sonomawinegrape.org