(KTSF by Jessie Liang)
California has more wineries than any other state in the nation, and nearly 90 percent of wine produced in the U.S. are from California. Since the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) was established in 2003, it has promoted sustainable winegrowing among vintners and growers by using the three E’s of sustainability: Environmentally sound, Economically feasible and Equitable practice.
The Clos LaChance winery and its 100 acres of vineyard was certified by the CSWA two years ago. Clos LaChance vice president Cheryl Murphy Durzy says sanitation is very important at a winery so they use a lot of water. They built several ponds at the vineyard to store wastewater and then recycle it. Durzy says, “All of water that we use in the winery, it’s then put through ponds, the solids settle out and then we use the water toward the vineyard.”
Durzy adds the ponds and the wetlands create beautiful environment for birds and endangered species. In addition, Clos LaChance vineyard also uses cover crops. “We use legumes as our cover crop which tracks the right kind of insects that will naturally protect the grapes and the environment around them,” said Durzy.
Every year when all the grapes are crushed, Durzy says they take the grape skins, compost them, and then put them back into the soil as a fertilizer. She says doing all of these little things adds up to creating a better environment not only for the winery, but the community in large and creating better wine. Durzy adds that their next goal is to install a solar system.
Even though the winery has been certified by the CSWA, Durzy states that according to the certification program, the winery needs to be re -evaluated every year, so they have to improve each year. She says that sustainability is a long-term investment not only for the people now but also for the next generation. “If the land is protected for next generation, they don’t have to put in money to fix it,” said Durzy.
According to the CSWA’s data, nearly 60 California wineries which use sustainable winegrowing and winemaking methods have been certified by the CSWA. To date, more than 1,680 vintners and growers have self-assessed their operations at more than 200 workshops. The CSWA’s goal is to encourage the wine community to continue evolving their sustainable practices over time.
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