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CSWA 2015 Report Shows Wide Adoption of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices in California

Establishes New Benchmark Based on 2013 Sustainability Code
January 26, 2016

 San Francisco—The 2015 California Wine Community Sustainability Report released today by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) shows broad participation in its Sustainable Winegrowing Program (SWP) and wide adoption and implementation of sustainable practices in vineyards and wineries around the state. The Report also shows growing participation in Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing, a program providing third-party verification of sustainability practices.

Broad Participation in CSWA

Since CSWA was founded in 2002, 2,091 California vineyard and winery organizations have participated in the SWP Self-Assessment Program. These organizations represent over 421,000 acres, 69% of California’s winegrape acreage, and more than 212 million cases, 79% of cases produced in the state. CSWA has held 550 workshops to provide information and guidance for implementing sustainable practices attended by nearly 14,000 representatives of winery and vineyard operations of all sizes.

“As the world’s fourth largest wine producer, California has one of the most comprehensive and widely adopted sustainability programs of its kind. The high percentage of adoption of sustainable practices reflects the commitment of the industry to continuously improve,” said Allison Jordan, CSWA Executive Director.

New Benchmark Based on 2013 Third-Edition Sustainability Code

The 2015 Report establishes a new benchmark for statewide sustainability because it is based on results from participants self-assessing their operations since 2013 using the new, third-edition California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Workbook which was released that year. CSWA is establishing a new baseline with the third-edition Workbook because it includes significant improvements and new information on 200 best management practices which represent the most current understanding of best practices in 15 areas of vineyard, winery and community operations.


The 2015 report shows that 802 vineyards representing 117,000 winegrape acres used the new third-edition Code Workbook to evaluate and improve their practices since 2013. The data show that a majority have adopted sustainable practices for water and energy efficiency, pest management and soil health as detailed below:
Water Efficiency: 85% of growers used micro-irrigation systems to target irrigation, optimize water use and conservation 85%
Pest Management: 84% of growers used cultural practices to naturally manage pests, reducing need for pesticides 84%
Energy Efficiency: 82% of growers reduced energy use through water pump improvements, the largest energy saving opportunity in the vineyard 82%
Soil Health: 95% of growers used resident vegetation, cover crops and/or compost 95%


The 2015 report shows that 138 wineries that produce 175 million cases used the third-edition Code Workbook to evaluate and improve their practices since 2013. A majority are adopting sustainability practices for energy, water and waste management, among other areas.
Energy Efficiency: 74% of vintners conducted an energy audit of their winery within last five years to save energy and costs 74%
Water Efficiency: 84% of vintners measured and monitored water use to manage it responsibly 84%
Waste Management: 64% of vintners separated recycled glass and had designated recycling bins at their facilities to minimize material sent to landfill 64%


The livelihood of California vintners and growers depends upon the health of the environment and local communities. The 2015 report shows that a vast majority of the state’s vintners and growers are taking action to protect wildlife, contribute to their communities and be responsive to neighbors and encourage employees to become engaged in enhancing sustainability.
Wildlife: 91% of growers allowed growth of resident or native vegetation to protect local water bodies and positively impact surrounding community
Contribution: 95% of vintners volunteered or provided other contributions to enhance their local community 
Neighbors: 94% of growers provided neighbors with contact information and responded to community concerns 
Employees: 84% of vintners encouraged employees to provide suggestions for improving operational efficiency to enhance sustainability

For full analysis of data collected since 2013 on all 200 Code Practices, view the 2015 report appendix at:

Certified California Vineyards and Wineries

CSWA launched a certification program in 2010 that uses third-party auditors to verify winery and vineyard adoption and implementation of sustainable winegrowing practices. This voluntary program, Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CCSW-Certified), is an additional offering of the CSWA Sustainable Winegrowing Program

In 2015, 483 vineyards and 91 wineries achieved CCSW-Certification. All certified wineries and vineyards meet defined prerequisite practices that ensure key sustainability areas are addressed including soil health, water and energy, habitat, and others. Certified wineries and vineyards undergo annual audits to maintain their certification.

The 483 vineyards represent 102,327 CCSW-Certified winegrape acres, accounting for 17% of California’s total acres. The 91 CCSW-Certified wineries produce 171 million cases, 64% of total cases from California.

About CSWA

Created by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG), CSWA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes environmental stewardship and social responsibility in the California wine community.

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