The NYWGF Sustainability Program is pleased to announce the release of a VineBalance 2022 update for New York’s sustainable winegrowing certification pilot program. The latest update expands upon the environmental risk assessment presented in the original VineBalance workbook to address the objectives of the NYWGF Grower Sustainability Advisory Committee: input reduction, soil health, water protection, energy conservation, resources and waste, ecosystem health, climate resiliency, continuous improvement, and social equity. This update was vetted against leading national standards for sustainable winegrowing and edited by Chris Serra, Executive Director of LIVE. The NYWGF Technical Review Committee contributed state-specific viticulture expertise, and the soil health chapter was further reviewed by Bob Schindelbeck, Director of the Cornell Soil Health Laboratory.
Each chapter of VineBalance 2022 is comprised of multiple action items that are scored on a scale from 1 to 4. Growers seek to maximize their score for each action item, where 1 indicates a minimum level of sustainability and 4 indicates a best management practice for sustainable winegrowing. An average score of 3, or overall score of 75 percent, is required to pass certification. This holistic approach and system of balance is designed to give growers the flexibility to adapt to challenging vintages, a changing climate, and novel pest pressures, while also improving their sustainability over time. Each chapter is full of references, explanations, and alternative management practices to support growers along a path of continuous improvement. Growers who achieve certification and wineries who produce wine from certified fruit will be permitted to use the program logo for special labeling.
Recruitment for the sustainable winegrowing certification pilot program is now under way. The certification pilot will be headquartered in Yates County, along a portion of the Finger Lakes and Seneca Lake American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), and the Canandaigua, Keuka, and Seneca Lake watersheds, but the program is open to growers across the state. If you are a grape grower interested in participating in the pilot certification program, apply today!