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Winegrowers, the Foundation of Sustainability with Esther Mobley

In the second installment of the Grower Series, this online session will focus on New York wine producers’ commitment to sustainability.  Esther Mobley, Wine Critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, will lead the discussion with notable winemakers and vineyard managers, covering how they are practicing sustainability, from farming to winery and business practices – both as individual wineries and collectively as a wine region.    Click Here to Register This seminar is sponsored

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NYWGF Sustainability Program Offers Soil Health Scholarships

The NYWGF Sustainability Program is pleased to offer scholarships to the Advanced Soil Health Virtual Certificate Course offered by the Cornell University Soil Health Program. This online course will take place December 4th – 11th from 8am to 11:30am and will include live sessions with soil health experts on December 6th, 8th, and 10th. Harold van Es, Cornell University Professor of Soil and Water Management, and Joseph Amsili, Extension Associate  for the Cornell Soil Health Program, will lead the course.  Healthy soil is the foundation of a healthy vineyard. It is important to practice soil health management throughout the year to reduce erosion, improve infiltration, sequester carbon,

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Community Solar Explained: What It Is and How It Works

What Is Community Solar?Community solar farms (also referred to as projects) are large, commercial-grade solar arrays shared by multiple community subscribers who receive credits on their electricity bills for their share of the power produced. Community solar farms offer residents, businesses, and municipalities an easy way to support clean, renewable energy AND save up to 10% on their monthly energy costs (with no change in utility provider). It’s easy, which

NYWGF Issues RFP for Sustainable Wine & Grape Certification Marketing Plan

NYWGF is developing a third-party certification for sustainably grown grapes and wine. The basis for this certification will be the VineBalance Guide to Sustainable Viticulture, a grower self-assessment workbook codeveloped by the Cornell Cooperative Extension and Soil and Water Conservation Committee of the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets in 2007. This workbook is widely applied across the state, but it lacks a system of third-party verification and logo

Spotted Lanternfly

Spotted Lanternfly Update for New York Wineries & Growers

All New York wineries and growers are invited to join us for this real-time update on the Spotted Lanternfly population in New York State and the multi-agency efforts to slow the spread. This event will  focus on information for the grape industry and ways in which we can all contribute to managing this new invasive species. Click Here to Register About our Presenter: Chris Logue is the State Plant Regulatory Official

Multi-State Partnership Advances Sustainability in the U.S. Wine Industry through Research, Education and Promotion

Since 2018, wine industry organizations from the four states have been partnering to advance sustainability initiatives industry wide. By providing a definition and principles for the U.S. wine industry, conducting trade and consumer research, sharing information through two U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summits and providing education on the industry’s sustainability commitment to trade and consumers, the project has been effective in furthering the understanding of sustainable winegrowing.

Wine industry and key stakeholders join forces to define sustainability

For the first time, more than 40 key actors in the production and marketing of wine around the world have joined forces to accelerate action as sustainability challenges mount. The newly formed Sustainable Wine Roundtable (SWR) is a unique coalition of leading wine brands, small producers, distributors, retailers, environmental organisations, and others – all joined in their determination to make the wine sector a sustainability leader. From drought to flooding,

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The Triple Bottom Line of Vineyard Sustainability

How do we measure the sustainability of the New York wine and grape industry? In sustainable agriculture, performance is measured using the “triple bottom line” framework. In addition to financial accounting, the triple bottom line framework also recognizes environmental and social returns. Over the past month, the NYWGF Grower Sustainability Advisory Committee has been collectively working to define the triple bottom line of sustainability for the New York wine and

Future VineBalance Updates to Address Biodiversity and Social Equity

The first layer of this analysis evaluates the broader categories of sustainability addressed by each program to identify what all programs have in common, where VineBalance exceeds other programs, and where it falls short in addressing certain priorities. The categories of sustainability that all three programs share are soil health, water conservation, and pest management. One area where VineBalance goes deeper that other programs is pesticide management. For example, VineBalance includes questions about the security of pesticide storage, certified applicator supervision, and the recyclability of pesticide containers. Key areas where VineBalance falls short include management strategies for biodiversity and worker health and safety.

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NYWGF Announces Sustainability Program Mission Statement and Objectives

The New York Wine & Grape Foundation is pleased to announce the release of a Mission Statement, Vision Statement and Objectives for our new statewide sustainability program. These guiding statements were collectively developed by our Grower Sustainability Advisory Committee and Sustainability Program Manager.

NYWGF Announces New Sustainability Committees

The New York Wine and Grape Foundation is pleased to announce the formation of our new Grower Sustainability Advisory Committee and Technical Review Committee. These two committees will work together with our Sustainability Program Manager to establish our statewide sustainable winegrowing certification program.  

Wagner Vineyards: Disrupting the Wine Industry with Care

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.

Chris Serra to Lead VineBalance Update

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.

Grower Survey Results and Sustainability Advisory Committee Nominations

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.

Incentives are available to help your vineyard save with solar!

Going solar is a strategic way for wineries cut overhead costs by producing their own electricity, on-site. Thanks to New York State grants and Federal tax incentives, overall costs can be reduced by more than 75% after all incentives are utilized. In fact, many businesses are seeing a payback period of under five years on a solar project that produces free electricity for over 35 years!

VineBalance RFP Information Session

The New York Wine and Grape Foundation seeks a consultant to update VineBalance as the basis for a new sustainability certification program for the New York grape and wine industry. To support this process, we will be holding an online information session on June 16, 2021 at 1pm/EDT. Click Here to Register Background: NYWGF is developing a third-party certification for sustainably farmed grapes and wine. The basis for this certification

New York Wine and Grape Foundation to Update VineBalance for Statewide Sustainability Program

The New York Wine & Grape Foundation is developing a third-party certification for sustainably farmed grapes and wine. The purpose of the RFP is to provide high level strategic and structural recommendations for certification design based on sustainability best practices, while balancing the small-scale and independent nature of New York’s wine industry. The ideal candidate will be experienced in East Coast climate and agriculture, viticulture and enology, international standards of sustainable winegrowing, and environmental certifications deployed by other agricultural industries. The VineBalance RFP is available here and responses are due by June 30, 2021.

NYWGF taking steps toward a more equitable, inclusive, & sustainable future.

June marks the start of Pride Month when our nation celebrates the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) community. Brittany Gibson, Executive Director of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, shared an excellent article earlier this week with her members on how they can support Pride Month activities. And CNET posted a comprehensive article on how to get involved with Pride Month both personally and from a business perspective. Everybody enjoys celebrating life, so let us throw open the doors to our “Big Tent” and invite everyone in to discover how New York wine always makes the best compliment to any occasion.

Support for sustainability continues to grow in wine and grape industry

The energy behind the sustainability movement in the grape and wine industry continues to build across the United States. Last week, NYWGF partnered with the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance to virtually host the second U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit. Over two hundred people joined the summit to hear remarks from journalists Ray Isle and Julia Coney, viticulturists, winemakers, and marketing leaders. NYWGF’s participation in planning these summits began in 2017, which instigated our own efforts to revitalize VineBalance and establish a statewide sustainability certification program. Sustainability presents our nation’s grape growers the opportunity to seize a leadership position and demonstrate how agriculture can be part of the solution to climate change.

hand with yellow painted finger nails, holding a glass of white wine, blurry vineyard in the background.

The Value-Added Argument for Sustainable Winegrowing in New York

The landscape of consumer goods has shifted seismically over the past two decades due to growing environmental awareness and desire for ethically produced products. The millennial generation, born between 1981 and 1996, lead the way. Millennials now make up the largest portion of the world’s population, presenting the greatest growth opportunity for the U.S. wine industry. In order to realize this growth, the wine business must inspire millennials and measure up to their generational values. In addition to an emphasis on climate change, this cohort is more health conscious, socially aware, and ethnically diverse than previous generations.

U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing Summit

Who: A gathering of regional winery and vineyard associations, engaged grower and vintner leaders, and others committed to the sustainability of their local vineyards, wineries and regions. What: Learn some of the driving forces behind the increasing interest in sustainable winegrowing. Be inspired with new ideas on how to bring sustainability education and outreach to your region’s vineyards and wineries. Why: Together we can enhance the sustainability of all U.S. vineyards and

Fox Run family stands with Bottle Crusher machine.

Fox Run Becomes First NY Winery to use GLSand Bottle Crusher

As a producer of nearly 240,000 bottles of wine each year, Fox Run Vineyards knew they had to do more to keep glass out of area landfills. Enter the Expelco GLSand Bottle Crusher: a compact machine designed to crush glass bottles into environmentally usable sand. Fox Run is the first winery in New York State to adopt and use this new technology.

Climate Change and the Future of Sustainable Farming

A presentation by Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel, Director of Climate Science at the Climate & Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists How is climate change affecting us today and over our lifetime? These are important questions for the wine community ask. Climate change has the potential to impact everyone in the wine supply chain from vineyard managers in the field to consumers enjoying a glass. Join us to learn

New York Wine and Grape Foundation Welcomes Renowned Climate Scientist Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel to Give Climate Change Presentation to East Coast Wine Community

How is climate change affecting us today and over our lifetime? These are important questions for the wine and grape community to ask. Climate change has the potential to impact everyone in the wine supply chain from vineyard managers in the field to consumers enjoying a glass. Join us to learn the science behind climate change, discover the potential of climate-smart farming, and reflect on the importance of supporting sustainable winegrowers for future generations of New York wine.

The Potential and Practicality of Regenerative Winegrowing in New York Vineyards

The practical benefits of building soil organic carbon have been recognized by farmers for generations, though perhaps not for the purpose of combating climate change. Undisturbed soils, rich in ground cover, have higher organic matter, microbial biodiversity, and water infiltration, making them better suited to agriculture.

Quality winemaking starts in the vineyard

I remember early in my career working in New York’s farm based beverage industry a conversation that I had with Chris Gerling at an introduction to distilling workshop at Catskill Distilling Company. Admittedly, I was super green behind the ears when it came to wine making and really any fermentation process. Chris properly schooled me when he simply described how to make a quality wine, “You can’t make good wine from bad grapes, but you can make bad wine from good grapes.” Reading between the lines, he helped me deduce that quality winemaking starts in the vineyard.

Funding Secured for Sustainability Program in New York

Our first step in this process is to create a business plan for the program to ensure its long-term sustainability. While we have about two years of funding in-hand, we think that it is important to establish a clear strategic direction and program design to ensure it can become a statewide and self-sustaining program.

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USDA Accepting Applications to Help Cover Costs for Organic Certification

WASHINGTON, August 10, 2020 – USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that organic producers and handlers can apply for federal funds to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic certification through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP). Applications for eligible certification expenses paid between Oct. 1, 2019, and Sept. 30, 2020, are due Oct. 31, 2020. “For producers producing food with organic certification, this program helps cover

A Long History of Sustainability at Silver Thread Vineyard

Silver Thread Vineyard was established in 1982 on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake, at the heart of New York’s Finger Lakes region. At this location the bottom of the lake drops almost 200 feet below sea level, a dramatic mass of water that creates a distinct microclimate on the leeward (eastern) hillside — cooling breezes in summer, radiating warmth through the winter, and extending the length of the growing season.

vineyard at sunset

Leading by Example: Sustainability & Biodynamics at Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard

Attitudes, practices, and policies have been changing especially in the last decade with regards to sustainability. There is mounting concern for personal health, and environmental and social problems that the world is facing including sickness and disease, extinction of plant and animal species, depletion natural resources, global warming, etc.