SACRAMENTO, CA — The efforts of California winegrape growers and vintners to build on their environmental successes gained a major boost late last month, when the United States Department of Agriculture awarded a $607,500 Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) to the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. The grant recognizes the uniquely cooperative approach California wineries and winegrape growers are taking to conserve vital air, water, soil and energy resources, and will allow the Alliance, with the assistance of the California Winegrape Growers Association (CAWG) and Wine Institute, to help growers and vintners learn about, access and benefit from market-based conservation opportunities. "CIG accelerates development, transfer and adoption of promising new technologies and approaches to some of the nation's most pressing natural resource concerns," said Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Mark Rey as he announced the nearly $20 million funding for 54 CIG awards nationwide. The CIG-funded project will build upon the Alliance's award-winning track record in sustainable practices education and outreach to help growers and vintners understand and use environmental accounting tools that document conservation outcomes for use in market-based conservation approaches. The online software system used by the Alliance will be enhanced so the wine community can more easily manage information on resource conservation practices to participate in greenhouse gas and water quality trading opportunities, energy and water use reduction incentive programs, and alternative compliance with new regulatory programs addressing air and water quality. "California's wine industry has been a leading proponent of producing wines and winegrapes in an environmentally friendly manner that reflects the incredible natural resources this state has been blessed with," says CAWG President Karen Ross. Added Robert P. "Bobby" Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute, "This grant recognizes not only the innovative new technology that will be introduced but the outstanding partnerships that have been forged between growers and vintners dedicated to protecting our land, our air and our water." California's Sustainable Winegrowing Program (SWP) is a ground-breaking program that encourages and enables winegrowers and vintners to adopt the highest standards of sustainable practices. The Program, established in 2002, is a partnership between the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) and Wine Institute. In 2003, CAWG and the Wine Institute formed the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA), a San Francisco-based 501c3 nonprofit organization to assist in the implementation of the SWP. For more information on the Alliance, visit www.sustainablewinegrowing.org. For more information on the grant, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/cig/2007awards.html.
Jul 9, 2007