In 2014, Sonoma County’s Winegrowers made a bold commitment – to become the most sustainable winegrowing region in the world. Thus began a five-year journey of hard work, collaboration and education that has had a profound and unprecedented effect on our region and the way the world views it! Today, we can proudly say that 99% of the vineyard acreage in Sonoma County has been certified sustainable by a third-party program, indeed making ours the most sustainable winegrowing region in the world. We are very proud of this distinction. But why is it important?
Sustainability helps to preserve agriculture and multi-generational family farms. Sonoma County is largely comprised of family farmers who produce some of the world’s best grapes and wine and have done so for generations. More than 95% of Sonoma County’s vineyards are family owned and operated. It is estimated that 80% of the county’s vineyards are less than 100 acres and 40% are less than 20 acres.
Sonoma County grape farmers and winemakers are dependent on a healthy environment to grow the best grapes that make world-class wines. Our grape growers and winemakers have long been at the forefront of creating and utilizing sustainable practices, so our commitment to sustainability will ensure our businesses, our rural lifestyle and our agricultural heritage will be maintained for years, and generations to come.
Read on for more information on what it means to farm sustainably, the certification programs we work with and how you can do your part to support sustainable winegrowing.
The Sonoma County Sustainability logo for wine labels launched with the 2017 vintage and today, you can find the logo on over 36 million bottles of Sonoma County wine! Of course, if you see “Sonoma County” on the label you can be pretty sure the grapes were grown responsibly. The seal is your extra proof, as these wines have been certified to have been made from at least 85% certified sustainable winegrapes.
We love telling the stories of our sustainable winegrowing families. That is why we launched a Sonoma County Sustainable Wine App! Just look for it in the Apple App or Google Play store, download and explore which wines have the technology on the label. Each label tells the story of that wine’s particular sustainability origin.
For a sneak preview for how it works, check out the video!
As we look toward the future and continue our leadership in sustainability, Sonoma County Winegrowers has partnered with the California Land Stewardship Institute to launch a Climate Adaptation Certification program for local winegrowers.
We believe that local solutions are the key to global issues.
THE PILOT PROGRAM
In January 2020, we launched a pilot program with 17 local vineyards. Each has created its own land management program developed specifically to address the sequestration of nitrous oxide and carbon emissions. The greenhouse gas reductions will be monitored and documented. This will help us better understand the role of vineyards in climate change and the immediate benefits of agricultural practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon.
The knowledge gained from the pilot program will help growers understand best practices for climate mitigation in vineyards with different factors. These learnings will then be shared widely with other farmers and the general public so that each can create a program for farming operations with the lowest possible impact to climate in mind.
Sonoma County Winegrowers releases an annual report with updates about sustainability and how the community is working together to continue leadership in this realm. We send this report out in newspapers to our neighbors, local businesses and winegrowers. Please read on for information on our sustainability programs and the evolution of our sustainability commitments.
Our sustainability programs are extensive. For more information about our additional work and programs, click the links below.
For our local farmers and wine community, click the button below to learn how to participate in our sustainability programming.
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