Whitney Beaman announces departure from role as NYWGF Sustainability Manager

It is bittersweet that I announce my resignation from the role of Sustainability Program Manager at the New York Wine & Grape Foundation at the end of this month. It has been a life-changing experience to work with grape growers across the state on this important mission, which I have dedicated much of my career to.

For those of you who do not know me well, my time in the New York wine industry began during the 2012 harvest at Bedell Cellars on the North Fork of Long Island. (I cannot believe that was 10 years ago!) It was there that I learned the ropes of winemaking and put my bachelor’s degree in viticulture and enology to the test. That vintage was the same year that the first bottles of certified sustainable wines from Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing (LISW) were labeled with the seal of sustainability.

You could say that I came up in a corner of the wine industry where sustainability was always part of the deal. For the next five years, I worked harvest at Bedell while I developed my professional skills in other ways, working in sales and marketing in New York City. It was an invaluable experience to be “boots on the ground” seeing how customers and trade interact with sustainable wine labels. It inspired me to pursue a master’s degree in sustainability management, which prepared me to be the Program Manager of LISW in 2018.

For the next few years, I worked closely with LISW President, Rich Olsen-Harbich, and NYWGF Executive Director, Sam Filler, to lay the groundwork for a statewide sustainability program. We took up the torch of the original VineBalance project from the early 2000’s and began partnering with other like-minded organizations across the country on initiatives such as U.S. Sustainable Winegrowing.

Countless grant proposals, webinars, and content pieces later, here we are with our own fledgling certification program. I am deeply grateful to the 40+ grape growers who participated in our VineBalance Workshops, Pilot Program, and Grower Sustainability Advisory Committee.

The unity and cooperation that our industry has displayed over the past year is astounding. I know the Sustainability Program will be well cared for after I leave, because New York’s grape growers have the passion, knowledge, and commitment to carry the mission forward and show the world that we are the premier, cool-climate, sustainable, wine region.

For those interested in applying for the open position, the job posting can be found here.

Picture of New York Wine & Grape Foundation

New York Wine & Grape Foundation

The mission of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation is to promote the world-class image of New York grapes and wines from our diverse regions to responsibly benefit farmers, producers and consumers through innovative marketing, research, communication, and advocacy.