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Four-fifths of Calif. wine production certified sustainable

Tim Hearden WFP-tim-hearden-wine-report2 (2).JPG
Wine grapes grow in Sonoma County, Calif.
Alliance’s 2020 certification report shows continued growth.

As of December, 171 wineries accounting for 80% of California’s total wine production and 2,347 vineyards farming 32% of the state’s wine grape acreage were certified under a statewide sustainability program, according to a new report.

The totals represent 204,122 acres – nearly half the state’s vineyards – and 255 million cases of wine, according to the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance’s 2020 certification report released Feb. 3.

The report is the CSWA’s fourth and coincides with the program’s 10-year anniversary. The alliance also updated its California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing with more than 200 best practices.

“Transparency and continuous improvement are two of the mantras of sustainable winegrowing in California,” said Allison Jordan, CSWA’s executive director. “The 2020 report provides statistics and demonstrates progress in adoption of sustainable practices by a growing number of certified vineyards and wineries over the past year.

“CSWA considers the code a ‘living document’ that is regularly updated to reflect the latest sustainability best practices,” she said.

The sustainability report’s release typically coincides with the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento in early February, but this year’s 27th annual symposium was held online in late January because of coronavirus-related restrictions on public gatherings.

The latest participation numbers are up slightly from the 2019 report, which showed 149 wineries producing 255 million cases and 2,097 vineyards representing 29% of California’s wine grape acreage (184,818) were certified by the CSWA for their practices. Another 15% of vineyard acres participated in other programs.

In 2020, about 15% of the vineyard acreage credited by the CSWA participated in other state-recognized programs, including Fish Friendly Farming, Lodi Rules, Napa Green and Sustainability in Practice (SIP). In all, 6.2 million cases (76 million bottles) bear the sustainability logo created by the CSWA in 2017, the organization notes.

The Golden State remains the global leader in sustainable winegrowing practices, with one of the most widely adopted sustainable winegrowing programs in the world in terms of both wine grape acreage and case production, according to the alliance.

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