Friday, October 7, 2016

Making Wine More Sustainable: Jackson Family Wines Leads the Way

Climate change has a number of impacts and the wine industry is no exception.  Grape vineyards from the Champagne region of France are under siege from a volatile climate.  This could jeopardize the world famous bubbly.  Last spring frosts killed up to 70 percent of  champagne producing grapes. Other vineyards around the world are also under threat from climate change.

As reported by Grist champaigne may be the canary in the coalmine. “The early budding of the plant due to climate change makes them vulnerable to spring freezes,” Eric Fournel, director of the Duval-Leroy Vineyard, told PRI in 2014 — the same year Duval-Leroy lost over half their grape harvest to a freeze in May.

Climate change has significantly decreased the yield of grapes and therefore the quantity of champagne and other wines that are produced.

In the face of these pressures some producers like Jackson Family Wines (JFW) are responding with plans and goals to make their wines more sustainable.

As reported by Sustainable Brands, In September, Sonoma County winemaker JFW unveiled a plan to help make their wines more sustainable.  The plan includes its first sustainability report, supported by a list of comprehensive 5-year goals.

JFW has intoduced some innovative approaches to managing its operations and promoting the interests of its employees and surrounding communities.

There are over 30 premium wineries that operate under the JFW brand. This includes Kendall-Jackson, La Crema and Cambria. The company was founded in 1982 by wine pioneer, entrepreneur and philanthropist Jess Jackson.

“Today’s wine consumers are passionate about sustainability and support wineries that share their values, so I am truly excited to reveal the details of our progress and our ambitious five-year goals in this inaugural report,” said Katie Jackson, VP of Sustainability and External Affairs.

Jackson Family Wines’ is a progressive leader in environmentally and socially responsible business practices. Here are some of their accomplishments:
  • Certification for all family-owned wineries and vineyards through third-party sustainability programs: California Sustainable Winegrowing (CCSW), Sustainability in Practice (SIP), or Low Input Viticulture & Enology (LIVE)
  • 31 percent reduction in winery water use
  • 6.5 megawatts of onsite solar PV systems deployed across 9 wineries, the wine industry’s largest solar portfolio
  • 8.4 megawatt hours of energy stored onsite through Tesla Energy’s stationary battery storage systems
  • 17 percent reduction in Scope 1-3 market based greenhouse gas intensity
  • 98 percent of bottling line materials recycled annually
  • Support for more than 50 community-based, mission-driven non-profits
JFW has a multi-generational vision to make world-class wines that have a positive and lasting impact upon natural resources, employees and surrounding communities. Its approach is comprised of four sustainability pillars that includes sustaining lands through responsible farming that respects the integrity of the eco-system. These efforts comprise wildlife, natural soil enhancements, pest management, and erosion control.

The 2021 goals in this area include:

  • Commit to at least one land conservation/restoration project per year.
  • Source 85 percent of all grower fruit from certified sustainable vineyards.
  • Power 50 percent of winemaking operations from onsite renewable energy generation.
  • Reduce market-based scope 1-3 greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent per gallon. produced from 2015 baseline.
  • Further reduce water intensity per gallon of wine by 33 percent over 2015 baseline.
  • Increase water security.
  • Achieve zero-waste tasting rooms
  • Double facility solid waste diversion
  • Advancing the field by contributing to the advancement of winemaking through the exploration of new technologies, strategic partnerships, and conservation work with federal, state, and local resource agencies.
  • Establish a volunteer program that supports a 75 percent employee volunteer participation rate annually.
  • Establish a domestic paid internship program that creates a pathway to full-time employee positions.
  • Pilot an innovative trial or continue an ongoing experimental pilot project each year

JFW is at home in Sonoma County, which is committed to becoming the nation’s first 100 percent sustainable wine region by 2019. In 2015, Sonoma County Winegrape Commission created a 100-year business plan.

Related
Drought Impacts California's Wine and Beer Industries
The Drought in California is a Global Warning
Water Efficiency: Stopping the Flow from Leaky Pipes

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