SAN FRANCISCO — The California Green Medal recipients have been announced for the third annual Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards. The California Green Medal recognizes the leadership of wineries and vineyards committed to sustainability and is presented by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, California Association of Winegrape Growers, Wine Institute, Lodi Winegrape Commission, Napa Valley Vintners, Sonoma County Winegrowers and The Vineyard Team. Four Green Medals are presented in the following categories: Leader, Environment, Community and Business. The recipients of the Green Medal Awards will be honored at a luncheon in Sacramento on April 19, 2017 featuring CalEPA Undersecretary of Environmental Protection Gordon Burns as the keynote speaker. The awards ceremony is part of the California Wines: Down to Earth Month celebration of sustainable winegrowing in April.
Recipients of the 2017 Green Medals are:
LEADER AWARD: Francis Ford Coppola Winery was given this honor for excelling in the “3 E’s” of sustainability — Environmentally sound, socially Equitable and Economically viable. Francis Ford Coppola Winery, based in Geyserville, Sonoma County, demonstrates exceptional leadership in all areas of sustainability. Last year the winery made a firm commitment to source 100% sustainably certified grapes by 2019, while providing technical and financial assistance to growers to help them achieve certification. Within the company, employees receive sustainability training opportunities and generate ideas on how the company can take the most sustainable approach to address water and energy usage and waste management among other activities. To spearhead these efforts, a volunteer Green Team comprised of employees is active throughout the vineyard and winery operations to implement ideas, identify areas of improvement and seek opportunities to innovate under the guidance of the company’s five-year sustainability plan.
ENVIRONMENT AWARD: Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery received this recognition for best demonstrating Environmental Stewardship through maximized environmental benefits from implementing sustainable practices. Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery, based in St. Helena, Napa Valley, has been a pioneer in green leadership for over 30 years, transitioning its historic estate to organic farming in 1985 and earning organic certification in 1992, one of two organic vineyards in Napa Valley at the time. Spottswoode helped cultivate the idea that going green leads to superior quality. In addition to organic farming, Spottswoode’s commitment to environmental stewardship is reflected in its biodynamic practices, almost exclusive use of solar power, preservation and conservation efforts, and its philanthropic practice of donating 1% of annual profits to environmental organizations.
COMMUNITY AWARD: St. Francis Winery & Vineyards was given this recognition for being a Good Neighbor & Employer using the most innovative practices that enhance relations with employees, neighbors and/or communities. St. Francis Winery & Vineyards in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, operates under the belief that good neighbors help each other and that employees are part of the success of sustainability. The winery offers a comprehensive benefits package and annual health and wellness screenings. Actions like these led to recognition in regional “best places to work” awards for the past six years. Local outreach is also part of their good neighbor ethos, by funding an annual day of service for employees to work at local non-profits. Understanding the importance of education, St. Francis shares a strong message of sustainability with the public through informative vineyard tours and offers technical and financial assistance to local grape growers for sustainability certification and education.
BUSINESS AWARD: Monterey Pacific, Inc. was given this honor for best demonstrating Smart Business through efficiencies, cost savings and innovation from implementing sustainable practices. Monterey Pacific, Inc., with vineyards throughout California's Central Coast, takes the most efficient parts of organic, biodynamic and sustainable farming and creates a successful, economically and environmentally sound management style designed for growing grapes. Their commitment is reflected in virtually no employee turnover, providing continuing education benefits, and offering dual language programs for improvement of overall communication. In 2016, Monterey Pacific certified 6,000 acres to SIP Certified or Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing with a commitment to certify the remaining managed acreage this year. Understanding that vineyard management involves more than just land, but also people and sound business practices, the company has remained steadfast in its commitment to sustainability since its inception.
“The awards program provides an exciting opportunity for California growers and vintners to be recognized for their hard work and dedication to sustainability,” said Allison Jordan, CSWA Executive Director. “All the vineyards and wineries of all sizes from throughout California that submitted applications were outstanding. The judging panel was impressed by the breadth and depth of sustainable practices being used to conserve water and energy, maintain healthy soil, protect air and water quality, preserve wildlife habitat, and enhance relations with employees and communities, all while improving the economic vitality of vineyards and wineries.”
A panel of wine and sustainability experts judged the applications for the third annual California Green Medal. They include Stephanie Bolton, Grower Communications & Sustainable Winegrowing Director, Lodi Winegrape Commission; David Glancy, Master Sommelier, San Francisco Wine School; Lindsey M. Higgins, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Agribusiness Department, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; Allison Jordan, Executive Director, California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance; Emily Farrant, Sustainability Manager, Sonoma County Winegrowers; Michelle Novi, Industry Relations Manager, Napa Valley Vintners; Cyril Penn, Editor in Chief, Wine Business Monthly; and Beth Vukmanic Lopez, SIP Certification Manager, The Vineyard Team.
Award sponsors are — Exclusive Media Sponsor: Wine Business Monthly; Silver Sponsors: CC Wine Caves, Farm Credit Alliance, and Marin Clean Energy; and Bronze Sponsors: Ag Unlimited, SureHarvest, and WM EarthCare.
Partnering organizations include: El Dorado Wine Grape Growers Association; Fish Friendly Farming; Mendocino County Resource Conservation District; Mendocino WineGrowers Inc.; Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance; San Luis Obispo Wine Country Association; and Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley.