As we celebrate Earth Day, we need to remember that sustainable winegrowing is important to winemakers and vineyards throughout California. The Wine Institute has developed their sustainable winegrowing program and region after region have incorporated this program into their practices.
On April 20, the California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards were announced and recipients were honored at a lunch reception and ceremony in Sacramento. The California Green Medal, developed to showcase leading wineries and vineyards committed to sustainability, is presented by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, the California Association of Winegrape Growers, Wine Institute, Lodi Winegrape Commission, Napa Valley Vintners, Sonoma County Winegrowers and The Vineyard Team. Many association partners also helped to promote the awards which were selected by a panel of wine and sustainability experts.
The Leader Award is given to the vineyard or winery that excels in all “3 E’s” of Sustainability—Environmentally sound, socially Equitable and Economically viable. The winner, Jackson Family Wines, has been a sustainability innovator and an early adopter of healthy land management practices since the winery’s founding in 1982, with more recent actions guided by a company-wide sustainability strategy and a comprehensive audit of environmental impacts in 2008. Incorporating triple bottom-line sustainability principles across all aspects of their business, the company deployed solar arrays at eight wineries and collaborated with Tesla to reduce energy demand and increase grid reliability, utilized industry-first water conservation technologies, introduced human resource initiatives to improve employees’ well-being, paid a price premium for certified sustainable winegrapes and led voluntary drought initiatives.
For information on other prizes awarded, sponsors, and partnering organizations, see greenmedal.org