The Lodi Winegrape Commission has announced that “Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing” received its accreditation by Protected Harvest in late January, thus raising the bar on vineyard certification. The original standards, approved in 2005, were California’s first appellation-wide sustainable winegrowing standards, which have now become a global benchmark for vineyard certification.
The revised guidelines culminate two years of work by Lodi wine growers to improve upon the original certification standards. The revision includes 22 new measures that address issues such as energy management, employee incentives and benefits, soil conservation, water quality, and disease management, among many others. There are now 101 farming practice standards in six chapters: Business Management, Human Resources, Ecosystem Management, Soil Management, Water Management, and Pest Management.
All standards have been peer-reviewed by scientists, members of the academic community, and environmental organizations before accreditation by Protected Harvest. Vineyards must pass a third-party audit to verify vineyard practices prior to certification.
“We are very proud of the rigor and quality these standards represent,” noted local grower and committee chairman, Stanton Lange. “They reflect Lodi’s generational commitment to responsible farming and give wine lovers the opportunity to support our efforts by enjoying a glass of Lodi Rules certified sustainable wine.”
In 2005, Protected Harvest certified six farming families and 1,455 acres in the Lodi Appellation. Over the past seven years, the program has grown to more than 85 farming operations, and 20,000 acres of Lodi vineyards have been certified. There are an additional 6,000 acres certified from Sonoma to Soledad. More than 20 wineries now produce wines that bare the Lodi Rules seal on the label.
“The Lodi Winegrape Commission continues to demonstrate leadership in sustainable winegrape growing by reevaluating farming standards for the Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing,” stated Dr. William Horwath, President of the Protected Harvest Board. “The Board sent the standards out for scientific peer review, as well as reviewed them internally. They were very impressed with the rigor of the revisions by the Commission, the subsequent changes they made based on the reviews by the Board and scientists, and their desire to keep the Lodi Rules up to date and relevant to the challenges that face this specific farming industry today. The Protected Harvest Board approved the standards revisions at their January 16 meeting.”
Protected Harvest is an independent nonprofit organization governed by Sustainability Council of leading environmental NGOs, scientists, and practitioners that approve sustainability standards. Protected Harvest has received the Consumer Union’s highest rating for a meaningful eco-label. For more information about the Protected Harvest, visit www.protectedharvest.org.
For more information on the certification, go to www.lodiwine.com.