Marking a decade since the launch of Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing and nearly two decades since the release of the 1st Edition California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Workbook (the Code), the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) issued the 2020 Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing Annual Report and published the 4th Edition California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing containing over 200 best practices.
“Transparency and continuous improvement are two of the mantras of sustainable winegrowing in California,” said Allison Jordan, CSWA’s Executive Director. “The 2020 report provides statistics and demonstrates progress in adoption of sustainable practices by a growing number of certified vineyards and wineries over the past year. CSWA considers the Code a ‘living document’ that is regularly updated to reflect the latest sustainability best practices.”
2020 Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing Annual Report
The California wine industry’s commitment to sustainability is demonstrated by the incredible growth in vineyard and winery participation in Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing over the past decade. Commemorating the program’s 10-year anniversary, CSWA released the 2020 certification report, the 4th annual publication, which illustrates California’s global leadership in sustainable winegrowing, with the most widely adopted sustainable winegrowing programs in the world in terms of both winegrape acreage and case production.
As of December 2020, 171 wineries producing 80% of California’s total wine production (255 million cases) and 2,247 vineyards farming 32% of California winegrape acreage (204,122 acres) are Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing. The total statewide certified vineyard acreage is nearly 50% based on the additional 15% of California vineyard acreage certified to other state sustainability programs, including Fish Friendly Farming, Lodi Rules, Napa Green and Sustainability in Practice (SIP). The program was updated in 2017 to allow use of a new logo on labels and 6.2 million cases (76 million bottles) bear the logo, showing that the wine was made in a Certified California Sustainable Winery with 85% or more of grapes from certified vineyards (including Certified California Sustainable, Lodi Rules and SIP) and 100% from California.
View a list of current Certified California Sustainable vineyards, wineries and wines here.
4th Edition California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing
Beginning late 2019, CSWA undertook a significant review process in preparation for the publication of the 4th Edition Code, which was published in December 2020. Each chapter was reviewed extensively by staff and consultants, the Sustainable Winegrowing Joint Committee (a group of over 50 California growers and vintners) as well as subject matter experts, in addition to a public comment period. Updates include several new criteria addressing topics such as diversity, soil carbon sequestration, virus management, vineyard solid waste, as well as new prerequisites and educational content. The 4th Edition is available free-of-charge to California vineyards and wineries via the CSWA Online System, or via a publicly available and downloadable PDF. (Learn more here.)
The Code is the centerpiece of CSWA’s educational and certification programs, covering a broad range of sustainable practices used in vineyard and winery operations. Within its 15 chapters, the Code addresses best practices from grape to glass: sustainable business strategy, viticulture, soil management, vineyard water management, pest management, wine quality, ecosystem management, energy efficiency, winery water conservation and quality, material handling, solid waste reduction and management, sustainable purchasing, human resources, neighbors and community, air quality and climate protection.
Building on major trends and successful regional efforts, including the first five viticulture chapters of the Lodi Winegrower’s Workbook and the Central Coast Vineyard Team’s Positive Points System, the Code was first published in 2002 to help all California vintners and growers continuously improve and adopt sustainable practices. (The 2nd Edition was published in late 2006, and the 3rd Edition was released in January 2013.) In 2010, the Code became the basis of Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing, with independent auditors annually verifying that vineyards and wineries are using required practices and meeting an overall score threshold, as well as the accuracy of self-assessment scores.
About the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance
The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in 2003 by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers. CSWA’s mission is to encourage adoption of sustainable winegrowing practices and communicate the California wine industry’s global leadership through education, outreach, certification and partnerships. The result of this work will be a healthier environment, stronger communities, and vibrant businesses.