SAN FRANCISCO – The California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) has published a free grower guide, “Reducing Risks through Sustainable Winegrowing: A Growers’ Guide,” funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Risk Management Agency. The 45-page user-friendly guide demonstrates how adopting sustainable methods reduces risk and can be an effective management strategy to enhance the long-term viability of businesses. The guide is available online at: www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/agrowersguide.php.
About 30-35 percent of the state’s grape growers are uninsured, placing them at great risk, according to the USDA, Risk Management Agency Western Region Office. Moreover, crop insurance alone does not fully buffer risks to guarantee business success, and additional strategies are needed to minimize losses. The new guide recommends key practices from the California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices Workbook and other sources to reduce exposure. Economic, environmental, and social concerns are addressed, revealing how these types of risks are often interrelated. Applying the practices in the guide constitutes an integrated systems approach.
The top risks covered in the guide are water scarcity, impaired water quality, decreased soil quality, diminished air quality and climate change, increased labor costs, rising energy costs, pest outbreaks, aberrant weather and unexpected market challenges. The guide uses best practices from multiple sources including industry, academic and government experts to address water conservation and efficiency, water quality protection, soil conservation and management, air quality protection, human resource management, energy conservation and efficiency, integrated pest management, weather monitoring and preventive planning, selection of appropriate insurance policies and tools, and proactive business planning and management.
CSWA’s Sustainable Winegrowing Program (SWP) is a ground-breaking statewide initiative that encourages and enables winegrowers and vintners to adopt the highest standards of sustainable practices. The program was established in 2002 as a partnership between Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG).
In 2003, Wine Institute and CAWG formed the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, a San Francisco-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to assist in the implementation of the SWP. For more information on the alliance, visit www.sustainablewinegrowing.org.
USDA Risk Management Agency grant information can be found at: http://www.rma.usda.gov/. The agency can also be reached at its regional office in Davis, CA at 530/792-5870.