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CSWA and Wine Institute to Launch Three Projects Expanding Sustainable Winegrowing Practices

November 22, 2010

Press Release - The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) will launch two projects to expand sustainable winegrowing education and address air quality. Additionally, Wine Institute, in collaboration with the National Grape & Wine Initiative, will develop a third project to reduce water use and salts in process water. The three projects are being supported with $1,275,000 from USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, along with matching funds from recipients. Project details include:

1. “Data-Driven Targeted Education to Speed Adoption of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices”

This project will help improve the sustainability of California winegrowing by identifying educational needs through objective analyses of vintner and grower self assessments, as reported in the 2009 California Wine Community Sustainability Report. Project objectives include: 1) analysis of assessment data to prioritize sustainable winegrowing criteria and practices; 2) development of educational materials and web-based resources; 3) planning and facilitation of 20+ targeted education events; and 4) measurement of and reporting project progress.

The project goal is to speed adoption of sustainable practices that conserve natural resources and enhance the competitiveness of California wine.

2. “Field Testing A Carbon Offset and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Model for California Wine Grape Growers”

This CSWA project will field test, evaluate and implement a climate protection incentive system incorporating the DeNitrification DeComposition (DNDC) model and practices that improve air quality, reduce emissions, improve carbon sequestration potential, and promote other environmental benefits.

Project objectives are: 1) to validate DNDC using existing field data; 2) assess emission reduction and carbon sequestration opportunities associated with California wine, table and raisin grape production; 3) develop standard greenhouse gas and carbon sequestration quantification methodologies related to winegrape production and contribute to the development of carbon accounting protocols that will enable growers to access carbon markets and address demands of regulatory organizations; and 4) provide a user-friendly web-based interface to facilitate access to these technologies in order to drive conservation innovation and create incentives for adoption of sustainable practices by the state's winegrowers and other specialty crop producers.

3. “Scalable Solutions to Reduce Water Use & Salinity in California Winery & Food Processing Cleaning Operations”

Wine Institute, in collaboration with the National Grape & Wine Initiative, will compare and analyze current cleaning and sanitation practices of California wineries and food processors to provide information to interested parties in selecting methods that offer improved environmental performance in facilities.

The proposed project would compare and analyze current cleaning and sanitation practices of California wineries and food processors. This information will then be used to help facilities select methods that offer improved environmental performance (e.g., reducing water use, minimizing chemical inputs, reducing entrained salts, reducing the volume and strength of process wastewater, and other factors). Project partners will evaluate conventional, widely used products, as well as more innovative "green" products and approaches; original work on green chemistry options will also be tested. Results will be shared with California wineries and other specialty crop processors nationwide.

About CSWA, Wine Institute and NGWI

The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance was established as a joint effort by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers in 2003 to manage the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program (SWP), a ground-breaking statewide educational initiative to help wineries and vineyards continuously improve in adopting and implementing sustainable practices.

The SWP provides vineyards and wineries with educational workshops and tools, including a self-assessment workbook covering 227 sustainable practices from grape to glass. To date, more than 1,500 growers and vintners, representing 68% of California winegrape acreage and 63% of wine case production, have evaluated their vineyards and wineries using the workbook. Results of self-assessments are collected and reported publicly on a continuous basis. In 2010, the CSWA launched Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing, an option to add third-party verification of a winery or vineyard’s adherence to a process of continuous improvement in adopting and implementing sustainable practices. For more information, see www.sustainablewinegrowing.org.

Established in 1934, the Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy group of more than 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses that initiate and advocate state, federal and international public policy to enhance environment for the responsible production, consumption and enjoyment of wine. The organization also works to enhance the economic and environmental health of its communities and the state through its leadership in sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices and a partnership with California Travel and Tourism to showcase California’s wine and food offerings. The Wine Institute membership represents 85 percent of U.S. wine production and 90 percent of U.S. wine exports. For information visit www.wineinstitute.org.

The National Grape and Wine Initiative (NGWI is a nationwide coalition representing all segments of the grape industry including: raisin, juice, fresh grape and wine. NGWI membership includes grape growers, processors, wineries and representatives of academic institutions and cooperative extension organizations committed to improving the industry by assuring outcome-based funding to deliver innovative, prioritized and collaborative research, technology development and education for the industry. For information, see: www.ngwi.org.
 

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