The SW Summary: On Napa Green Vineyard Certification, the blurred lines between natural and conventional winemaking, Dicamba-drift destruction, fair labor practices and more

By Hanna Halmari
The new Napa Green Vineyard Certification 

Wine Business shares a press release from Napa Green announcing the launch of its new sustainable winegrowing certification. Replacing the Napa Green Land program, the new Napa Green Vineyard Certification places a specific focus on climate action, regenerative agriculture and social equity and justice. The “next-level” standards will help Napa Green work with certified growers to achieve its ambitious goal of achieving carbon neutral status within six years, and carbon negative within nine.

Tackling the wine bottle’s carbon footprint

It’s widely known that the largest portion of a wine bottle’s carbon footprint originates from its manufacturing, transportation and distribution. In The New York Times, Eric Asimov discusses how companies such as Gotham Project and Good Goods are experimenting with lower-carbon alternatives for bottling and transporting wine. Asimov describes the various methods underway, including the selling of wine in reusable bottles to the use of flexitanks (or “essentially giant plastic bladders within metal frames” to ship wine in bulk. Read more here.

The blurred lines between natural and conventional winemaking

In VinePair, Jamie Goode discusses how natural wine practices, once a “niche” and “counterculture” movement, can today be found throughout conventional winemaking. In light of this, Goode ponders, “where does natural wine finish and conventional wine start?” He concludes that it’s certainly hard to say, but “if the natural wine movement’s true purpose was to make the industry reconsider its position on issues ranging from farming to the need for additions and interventions in the winery, then its job is done.”

Texan vineyards file lawsuit over Dicamba-drift destruction 

Writing for Modern Farmer, Dan Nosowitz reports on the recently filed lawsuit by 57 Texas wine grape growers against Bayer-Monsanto and BASF for damage caused by “dicamba drift.” Dicamba is a pesticide known for its volatility, often causing off-target damage to non-resistant crops by spreading through spray drift or vaporization. The grape growers are suing the agrochemical companies for severe vineyard damage of up to 90 percent yield reduction “owing to dicamba drift” from surrounding cotton farms. 

The human side of production

In SevenFifty Daily, Valerie Kathawala stresses the importance of addressing and ensuring worker welfare in the wine world. This is especially the case when it comes to the natural wine brands “who stake their claim on making ethical, kinder-to-the-planet wines that align with the conscious consumer’s values.” Kathawala notes how an increasing number of wine importers are placing greater scrutiny on labor practices and the human side of production. She discusses how fair labor practices have “entered the narrative”, weighs up the pros and cons of certification, and considers the ways to take worker welfare forward.

The Future of Wine Americas & Sustainable Wine’s upcoming events

On 1st-3rd June Sustainable Wine ran The Future of Wine Americas conference, bringing together more than 500 stakeholders from across the wine industry. Attendees heard from 60+ expert speakers and engaged in three days of lively discussion and debate over the key sustainability opportunities, challenges and innovation in sustainable wine.

“The discussions were really insightful, particularly on how leadership is fast evolving, on climate strategy evolution and on the growing need for the industry to collaborate much more effectively to both drive efficiency and innovation. To this end we announced the formation of the Sustainable Wine Roundtable, a multi-stakeholder cross industry group, at the conference. Founding members can still join us before July 3 and details are at” said Toby Webb, Sustainable Wine co-founder.

In case you missed the conference or want to revisit some of the discussions, you’ll soon be able to find all of the session recordings on the website.

Coming up later this month, Sustainable Wine will host the Sustainability in the Vineyard event on June 22nd and the Sustainable Wine Packaging event on June 23rd. Register for free now to secure your place and hear from 40+ expert speakers across the two days. 

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About the author

Hanna Halmari

Hanna Halmari is the editor at Sustainable Wine and the head of conferences at Innovation Forum. Hanna specialises in sustainability research and events across various industries. She holds an MSc in international development from Kings’s College London, where she developed a strong interest in political economy and post-communist transformation. Hanna speaks Finnish, Bulgarian and English. In her spare time she is a dedicated Radio Lollipop volunteer at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, enjoys travelling, and tasting new wines.