Movement towards Sustainable Winegrowing in California
Sustainable Winegrowing may be a new buzz word in California’s wine country, but for many producers, it is a long-term commitment. Wineries like Fetzer Vineyards, Benziger Family, Buena Vista, and Tablas Creek are not only economically successful, they are also responsible custodians of their land.
The California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) is an organization that promotes the economic interests of the state’s wine industry and advocates a sustainable winegrape growing program.
Wine is a rare product in that it is both an agricultural and finished good. It is made by nature, the people who work the land, and vintners in the winery. While the CAWG’s primary goal is to, “Produce the best quality wine and/or grapes possible,” their code of sustainable winegrowing also encompasses environmental and social goals.
Some of these other values include their desire to, “Maintain the long-term viability of agricultural lands, and to support the economic and social well-being of farm and winery employees through training and competitive compensation.” The CAWG understands the importance of preserving the natural environment as well as maintaining favorable relations with the workers who are the foundation of the industry.
This is not to say that the California Association of Winegrape Growers is not concerned with economics. Another bullet point in their code states that they want to, “Honor the California wine community’s entrepreneurial spirit.” They certainly have a refreshing and holistic approach to the wine business, and should be supported in their efforts.