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Wine Institute and International Partners to Release New Greenhouse Gas Protocol and Accounting Tool

SAN FRANCISCO — The International Wine Industry Greenhouse Gas Accounting Protocol, developed through a partnership between the Wine Institute of California, New Zealand Winegrowers, South Africa’s Integrated Production of Wine program, and the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, will soon be released for use by the global wine industry. With increased attention to climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and offsets, the goal of the project partners is to provide a free, easy-to-use, wine industry specific, GHG protocol and calculator that will measure the carbon footprints of winery and vineyard operations of all sizes.

Examples of winery GHG tracking needs include meeting future regulatory requirements, such as AB 32, which requires the state of California to reach 1990 carbon emission levels by the year 2020. Although the wine industry and most other agricultural industries are considered low producers of carbon emissions, GHG issues, such as gaining market access to retailers interested in carbon foot printing, providing data for marketing purposes and/or carbon credit accounting, are becoming more significant to brands and image.

“The International Wine Industry Greenhouse Gas Accounting Protocol is a natural complement to the California wine industry’s commitment to environmental stewardship and leadership in sustainable winegrowing,” said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute. “Our wineries, the majority of which are family owned, believe that tools such as this are important to the long-term viability and health of their businesses.”

Wine Institute and its global partnership of wine associations contracted Provisor Pt Ltd, a consultancy firm with expertise in resource accounting in the wine industry, to develop the international wine industry protocol, based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol set by the World Resources Institute. The GHG Protocol provides the accounting framework for nearly every GHG standard and program in existence. Following this methodology, the group determined three “scopes” of emissions in the wine life cycle to be included in product footprint calculations

Scope 1 — Direct emissions over which the company has control via ownership of activities and that are included in mandatory reporting schemes. Examples include stationary fuel use such as water heaters, frost fighting equipment, and boilers, and mobile fuel use such as tractors, trucks, and harvesters.

Scope 2 — Indirect emissions from the production of purchased electricity, heat or steam, also included in mandatory reporting schemes.

Scope 3 — Indirect emissions from all activities that are purchased from other companies, which may be included in product life cycle analysis. Examples include extraction and production of purchased materials such as fertilizers, packaging material, and transportation of purchased products to the winery or transportation of wine products to the point of sale.

The protocol forms the basis for the accompanying GHG calculator, which serves as a practical application of the protocol. The international partners engaged their winery members in the development of the protocol and calculator, which will continue to be updated and refined as new information becomes available. The GHG protocol and version 1.1. of the excel-based calculator will be released to Wine Institute’s membership in February, 2008, with broader distribution to follow. Future plans include creating a web-based calculator, integrating the calculator into the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program, and organizing workshops across the state to provide climate change information and technical assistance on use of the tool.

“Our Environmental Committee’s main mission was to develop useful and uniform tools for meeting the carbon foot printing needs of the industry. Advancing the practices for sustainability is also a prime motivator for the industry’s vintners and growers,” said Chris Savage, Director of Environmental Affairs at E. & J. Gallo Winery and Co-chair of the Wine Institute Technical Committee’s Environmental Working Group.

“Though wine accounts for minimal air emissions, many California vintners and growers have been leaders in developing sustainable winemaking and winegrowing practices, and advancing the concept of environmental responsibility for the wine industry,” said Bob Calvin, Director of Engineering West Coast Operations for Constellation and co-chair of the Wine Institute Technical Committee’s Environmental Working Group. “The Greenhouse Gas tool will further help the wine community understand how and which operations impact air quality and help managers develop strategies for reducing emissions.”

Established in 1934, the Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy group of over 1,100 California wineries and affiliated businesses that initiates and advocates state, federal and international public policy to enhance the environment for the responsible production, consumption and enjoyment of wine. The organization also works to enhance the economic and environmental health of its communities and the state through its leadership in sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices. The Wine Institute membership represents 85 percent of U.S. production and 95 percent of U.S. wine exports.