K-J Sustainability: The Best Practice for This Harvest

September is quickly approaching, and with it, we will be entering the most exciting (albeit crazy) time of the year: harvest! Water and energy use increase significantly during the harvest months as we work to take all the incoming fruit and turn it into wine. With every harvest, as we do during the rest of the year, we focus on conserving water and energy in our vineyards and facilities.

In order to produce quality wines responsibly, best practices must be implemented, beginning from when the fruit is picked in the vineyards, on through to the finished product in the bottle. Sustainability certifications tailored specifically to winegrowing and winemaking encourage these best practices. Here at Kendall-Jackson, we pursue these best practices through the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CCSW) and Sustainability in Practice (SIP) certifications for our vineyards and wineries.

The CCSW program was developed to ensure that winegrowing in California is environmentally sound, economically feasible, and socially equitable.* The program is administered by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, a San Francisco-based 501(c)3 nonprofit created by the Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers, and works with accredited auditors to verify compliance.

Sustainability in Practice (SIP) is another third-party certified program that verifies vineyard sustainability via audits from accredited independent inspectors. These audits are then reviewed by a separate Certification Advisory Committee to determine eligibility for certification**.

Both programs are important in winemaking because they establish comprehensive standards that address sustainable farming methods, farm labor, agriculture, and overall conservation in winemaking. These standards are then used as baselines for action plans by winemakers and winegrowers, requiring that each participant measure its actions and follow the steps necessary for reaching their goals. The programs are designed to foster the best practices for making better wines, while ensuring environmental consciousness.

CCSW and SIP certifications must be renewed each year. This gives us the opportunity to review our current baselines and set additional goals. We aim to improve upon our baselines each and every year, and we continue to strive for the overall best practices in our winemaking. We believe that these certifications help support our belief in a better way to make great wine.

-Sabrina, Sustainability Intern


*Provided by the mission, visions, and values of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance: http://www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/sustainable_winegrowing_program.php
**Provided by SIP: http://www.sipcertified.org/overview/