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New Eco-Standards for California's Wine Country

Posted Jan 14 2010 4:31pm

Wine It'll soon be easier for drinkers of California wines to tell whether the contents of their bottles came at the expense of the environment.

The Wine Institute, a public-advocacy group, announced yesterday that a new third-party audit system will allow California winemakers and grape growers to brand themselves “sustainable” if they meet specific requirements.

The Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing Program will monitor 227 practices, including the non-use of pesticides, sowing cover crops, reducing waste and energy consumption, and providing workers' health insurance. Growers and winemakers will first review themselves before an outside auditor comes in to give the final grade.

California is the world’s fourth-largest wine producer, producing 467 gallons annually. Growers and winemakers who produce 62 percent of those gallons have already signed up for the voluntary program, which should make it a little easier for green consumers to choose between sustainable and non-sustainable vino.

Tell us: Would you be more inclined to buy a wine labeled “sustainable” over one that is not?

-- Nicholas Mukhar

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