Every member of our organization is committed to treading lightly on the earth so that our vineyards, our wines, and our people will be around for as long as our wines are in demand. We are certified LIVE and Salmon Safe to prove our commitment. But, our primary motivation is that we do these things because they are the right way to live and engage in business.
While grape growers in the Willamette Valley have always been quite gentle to the earth, through the past decade it has become ever more important to enhance our sustainable farming decisions. Today’s wine consumers want to see proof of the sustainable practices used to produce the wines they choose to buy.
In 2007, soon after the arrival of our new vineyard manager Chad Vargas, we started the process of getting all of our estate vineyards certified by LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology), a program founded in Oregon in 1997 and the first in the U.S. to be endorsed by IOBC, the International Organization for Biological and Integrated Control of Noxious Animals and Plants. The LIVE program has been expanded into Washington and is, by far, the most-used of the four third-party sustainability certification programs in both states.
For us, the appeal of this program was its focus on the sustainability of the entire farm (not just limiting which chemicals are used) and its basis in science. It weighs the pros and cons of each action in the vineyard and gives points for doing things in the most sustainable way. Our first vineyards were certified by LIVE inspectors in time for the 2008 harvest. We now farm 232 LIVE-certified acres of vineyard. To find out more about the LIVE program, please go to www.liveinc.org.
One of the problems of having four competing systems for sustainability certification is that consumers have no way of sorting out which to trust. In 2008, the Oregon Wine Board set out to create an over-arching program that would recognize all creditable certification programs for growing grapes and making wine. Wineries that have proof of both vineyard and winery certifications are allowed to use the Oregon Certified Sustainable Wine (OCSW) logo on their labels.
In that same year, our winery became one of the 14 original wineries to be LIVE-certified. It is the strictest winery certification program because it includes every aspect of winery sustainability, not just the materials that are used in the wines.
With both vineyard and winery certifications in place, every wine we produce will carry the LIVE logo as proof of our commitment to sustainability.
Every member of our organization is committed to treading lightly on the earth so that our vineyards, our wines, and our people will be around for as long as our wines are in demand. But, our primary motivation is that we do these things because they are the right way to live and engage in business.