SAN FRANCISCO — Governor Schwarzenegger named the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) a recipient of the 2004 Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards (GEELA) during a ceremony at the California Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Sacramento yesterday. The GEELA is California's highest and most prestigious environmental honor and recognizes individuals, organizations and businesses that have demonstrated leadership and made notable contributions in conserving the state's natural resources, protecting and enhancing the environment, and building public-private partnerships. CSWA is a 501(c)3 educational nonprofit organization established by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers to support widespread adoption of sustainable winegrowing practices. The governor recognized CSWA in the award category of Environmental & Economic Partnerships. A prominent feature of the CSWA Sustainable Winegrowing Program is the active participation of vintners, growers, regional trade associations, regulators, academics, environmental and social equity groups and other stakeholders in its development and implementation of the program. The result of this collaborative effort by CSWA has been more than 90 sustainable winegrowing workshops in 24 counties covering all the major winegrowing regions of California. To date, more than 1000 growers and/or winemakers, representing 800 vineyard enterprises and 125 winery facilities, have attended the workshops. The participants contributed benchmark data measuring the level of adoption of sustainable practices in their vineyard and winery operations. CSWA reported on the data in its first Sustainability Report in October of 2004. The report described California's sustainable winegrowing strengths and opportunities for improvement and set new goals to increase adoption of environmentally friendly practices. Based on the report findings, CSWA is planning new sustainable winegrowing workshops targeted at the most challenging areas and will issue follow-up reports tracking the California wine community's progress in the years to come. "On behalf of the CSWA Board of Directors, we are honored to receive this special recognition from the State of California and the governor," said CSWA President Steve Quashnick of Quashnick Farms in Acampo. "We hope the recognition will help expand participation in our sustainable winegrowing program. Through this collaborative effort between vintners and growers, sustainability is a concept that has now entered the mainstream thinking and doing of the California wine community." "The GEELA recognition continues the momentum of our sustainable program, which has received a positive response from vintners and growers around the state," said CSWA Vice President Jim Unti of Constellation USA. "However, our work is only beginning, and the California wine community has demonstrated its commitment in taking a leadership role in producing the finest quality wines in a socially responsible manner." Nominated by Congressman David Dreier and Assembly Member Patricia Wiggins, CSWA was also endorsed for the award by California Senator Wesley Chesbro, CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura, Sustainable Conservation Executive Director Ashley Boren, California Environmental Dialogue Director Charles McGlashan, and California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance President Victor Weisser. A Selection Committee evaluated applications for strength in eight specific areas: results, transferability, environmental impact, resource conservation impact, economic progress, innovation/uniqueness, pollution prevention, and environmental justice. The annual GEELA program is administered by the California Environmental Protection Agency and Resources Agency in partnership with the State and Consumer Services Agency.
Dec 2, 2004