What is Sustainable Wine?
Have you heard the term “sustainable wine” and wondered what that really means? In our modern days of environmental care and classification the government regulates the term “organic,” however “sustainable wine” can mean a wide range of things from the type of packaging used to waste management. So what does “sustainable wine” mean exactly?
For most California wineries, making “sustainable wine” is a source of pride and refers to a third party certification that ensures the wines are ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially responsible.
The Three E’s of Sustainability = Ecologically Sound, Economically Viable, and Socially Responsible.
These three “E’s” guide the metrics for sustainable wine and farming across California. To learn more about the Three “E’s” click here.
Different regions of California have different certification programs that measure the vineyard and winery practices with science based metrics. Each program varies slightly on assessment terms, however every program has sustainability and responsible wine production as a goal.
In the Clarksburg AVA, wineries subscribe to Protected Harvest, an American non-profit organization headquartered in Soquel, California that certifies sustainably grown crops in accordance with the Lodi Wine Grape Commission’s Sustainable Winegrowing Program. The Lodi Wine Grape Commission is America’s original sustainable viticulture program and is also referred to as “LODI RULES“. Even though Heringer Estates is not in the Lodi AVA, Clarksburg’s proximity allows wineries to participate in the certification program.
Third party certification for Clarksburg and Lodi AVA’s is conducted by LODI RULES, which measures the sustainable management of the entire vineyard ecosystem, including soil and water, business practices, human resources, and pest control with an emphasis on reducing pesticide risk to farm workers, consumers, and animals.
To check for sustainability certification, you will find these logos on Heringer Estates wine bottles:
Sustainable Wine at Heringer Estates
Heringer Estates embraces sustainable wine making as a core company and family value meaning:
“Doing more with what you have and preserving the land for future generations.”
All vineyards and wine making processes at Heringer Estates are third party certified through LODI RULES. Some examples of practices used to scientifically measure sustainability are:
- Plant cover crop and conduct renewable mulching to enhance soil nutrition and diversity
- Provide habitat and release rehabilitated owls annually for pest management (This is the inspiration for the Owl Release Event!)
- Deficit drip irrigation, giving the vines only as much water as they need.
- Dedicated human resources to long term employment for the vineyard and cellar workers as well as all employees in hospitality and administration.
- Limited and low usage of sulfur dioxide (sulfides) in wine making, only using what we need.
- Vegan friendly wine making processes (such as refraining from using egg whites, a common refining agent)
The Heringer Family started farming sustainably in 2009 and 2019 marks our 10 year anniversary! The family business produces over 4,000 cases a year including the EcoCask in accordance to the certification methods. It is with great dedication and pride that all vineyard and winery operations are 100% certified sustainable at Heringer Estates.
Herbicide Free Farming
Another great addition to the farming practices in recent years involved eliminating the use of glyphosate, a widely used herbicide that disrupts the photosynthetic process in plants and can cause cancer in animals and humans. Heringer Estates practices 100% glyphosate free farming, making the vineyards an even more of a natural habitat for delta animals and safer for vineyard workers.
The Family’s Promise
Dedication to sustainability is a promise to the future and a love for the land.
“I want to preserve our land and winery operations for future generations and farming sustainably helps to ensure that possibility. I love this opportunity to showcase what we are already doing in the vineyard and winery to increase our environmental stewardship and quality of our product in a quantitative way.” – Mike Heringer
In this changing environment the importance for sustainable wine making is growing. These certifications allow for future generations to enjoy the land as past generations have. Preservation and responsible stewardship of the land is very important to Heringer Estates and so we ensure you will enjoy sustainability in every glass!
Written by Cara Gregor