New York’s winegrowers face several challenges to premium wine and grape production, increasing the cost and complexity of vineyard management. Sustainable vineyard practices are widely regarded as essential to reduce environmental impact and improve the quality of wine.
The New York Wine and Grape Foundation is working to develop a New York certified sustainability program that will highlight the sustainable practices New York grape growers have already adopted, while providing guidance on how to advance their sustainability efforts in a consistent manner. The program, starting in 2021, is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority, and a private matching grant from John Ingle of Ingle Vineyards and Heron Hill Winery.
A New York certified sustainability program will provide a means for consumers to identify and support sustainable winegrowers. Trends indicate that consumers are increasingly interested in purchasing sustainable products, and are willing to pay more for them. This market-based approach to conservation will provide a continuous incentive for producers to implement and maintain sustainable practices that yield wide-ranging environmental and economic benefits.
We are thrilled to announce that the New York Wine & Grape Foundation has joined the Sustainable Wine Roundtable (SWR) as a Founding Member. The SWR is an independent, nonprofit, multi-stakeholder initiative to unite the international wine community around a consensus definition of sustainable wine. The mission of the SWR is to develop guidelines and best practices to advance sustainability in all aspects of wine production and trade. As a Founding Member, the Foundation will join with sister programs to share expertise and develop a global sustainability standard for wine. For more information, visit this link.
This is not a story about wine. This is a story about humanity within our community. 2020 was rough. In the year we slowed down, we were forced to sit and watch our world be rocked by a global pandemic and a relentless stream of heartbreaking news. Related to those moments was June 2, 2020. Accounts across social media posted black squares in a movement called Black Tuesday. It was done in solidarity with the Black community reeling from the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. While some larger brands in the wine industry participated, most stayed quiet. In the past, it wasn’t unusual for companies to selectively care, but this time was different. This time, business-as-usual in the face of hatred was an insufficient response.
This week marked the official start of our VineBalance update project, which was awarded to Chris Serra, Executive Director of LIVE. Chris is a great fit for this project with 14 years of experience leading an internationally recognized third-party certification in sustainable winegrowing for Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Chris consulted on the development of Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing (LISW) and has been instrumental in providing guidance on other certification efforts, including one for the Great Lakes.
This has been an exciting year for sustainable winegrowing in New York! The development of a statewide sustainable winegrowing certification program is finally under way. This program is the culmination of numerous of efforts by growers, extension agents, and industry associations over the past decade. We have now a reached a critical mass of consumer demand, industry support, and institutional backing to make it happen.
Presented for the first time in 2019, the Sustainability Award recognizes an organization or business that has demonstrated noteworthy sustainable practices and a commitment to conserving natural resources, protecting our environment, and contributing to the overall success of the New York State economy. The winner is determined by nominations from within the wine and grape industry, as well as related businesses and individuals.