LODI RULES : A Certified Winegrowing Sustainability Program
See original story published by Where Food Comes From here.
Swirl the glass of aromas, take a sip, and think about the flavors dancing around your palate. Did you taste hints of sweet grapes or does it have a citrus flavor, perhaps even a dry cherry finish? As you take that next sip you’ve probably already made a mental note whether you liked it enough to have another glass. Look at the wine in your glass, check out the color, smell it, and drink some more. While you’re enjoying that Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, or even a refreshing Pinot Grigio, did you think about the process to achieve such a smooth and balanced wine? Or maybe even how the grapes are farmed that end up in your wine? Today, we are introducing you to LODI RULES and their Certified Winegrowing sustainability program. So, pour another glass of that vino and pull up a chair.
What do farmers and world-renowned scientists have to do with your wine? Surprisingly a lot when it comes
to the sustainability process related to wine. Launched in 2005, LODI RULES is the nation’s first-ever comprehensive sustainable winegrowing program. With more than 10 years of experience, this program has created the pathway for other sustainability programs from coast to coast. In fact, multiple vineyards, wine labels and lists carry one of the prestigious LODI RULES Certified Green labels. Headquartered just south of Sacramento, the Lodi region is one of the few American viticulture areas (AVA) with ancient vines that survived through the Prohibition era. Today, hundreds of these treasured vines are part of the LODI RULES program – something truly unique to this region. Little did they know, a mission started in 1992 to educate others and diminish the use of pesticides, would turn into a formal certification program with more than 1,000 certified vineyards to date.
Certification and Sustainability
LODI RULES promotes sustainable management of the entire vineyard ecosystem and is certified by Protected Harvest, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Santa Cruz, California, with the principal mission to advance use and adoption of quantifiable sustainable agriculture standards. Protected Harvest functions first and foremost as an independent certifier, but also conducts reviews of standards developed by industry-leading organizations, to provide third-party validation and confirm they are based on sound science and designed to promote continuous improvement.
So, what does sustainable vineyard management mean? To ensure the grapes are producing remarkable wine, while enhancing natural and human resources, LODI RULES certified vineyards are held to a rigorous set of standards. Producing exceptional grapes is key in the wine industry. Farmers carefully manage the quality of the soil and water – maximizing the water penetration and enhancing organic matter within the soil. Sustainable farming also includes pest management and using integrated systems to minimize potential risks to animals, water, and people. Safety, business and human resource practices are all additional criteria required to carry the LODI RULES Certified Green certification. Each of the 120+ farming practice standards are measurable, auditable, and address at least one sustainability aspect (environmental health, social equity or economic viability). Today three seals exist; LODI RULES, CALIFORNIA RULES, and a universal rules seal. All of these seals carry the same stringent process for verification.
SureHarvest and Where Food Comes From
So how does Where Food Comes From fit into this equation? That’s easy, let us introduce you to SureHarvest, a division of Where Food Comes From. SureHarvest administers the LODI RULES certification process on behalf of Protected Harvest. They provide a digital platform for growers and auditors to track and analyze vineyard management practices. SureHarvest also provides consulting solutions to the wine industry on sustainability strategy. The next time you grab that bottle of vino be sure to look for one of the LODI RULES Certified Green seals on the back because they truly know what it means to provide exceptional wine for future generations.
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