The Washington wine industry announced an ambitious timeline for rolling out its sustainability certification program during a March 23 webinar for WineVit, the virtual annual conference of the Washington Winegrowers Association.
Collaborating industry groups have targeted January 2022 to have the certification program, which would require verification assessments, completely up and running. They plan to recruit growers for a pilot program in June, finalize a brand and label in July and launch the pilot program with the 2021 harvest.
Industry leaders have been discussing sustainability for 20 years, moving closer to formality with roundtable discussions in 2019, said Vicky Scharlau, executive director of Washington Winegrowers.
The industry groups developing the sustainability certification program are Washington Winegrowers, the Washington Wine Industry Foundation, the Washington State Wine Commission and the Washington Wine Institute. They plan to contract SureHarvest of San Ramon, California, to certify vineyards and wineries. SureHarvest also works with the California almond and Oregon hazelnut industries.
—by Ross Courtney