SAN FRANCISCO — Governor Jerry Brown presented the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) with the 2015 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA), the state’s highest environmental honor. CSWA was recognized for its California Sustainable Winegrowing Program during a ceremony at the California Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters on Jan. 21 in Sacramento.
A GEELA recipient in 2004 and 2010, CSWA received this year’s award in the category of Enhanced Environmental and Economic Leadership. This category honors prior GEELA award recipients who have “sustained exceptional leadership and demonstrated significant and robust improvements in voluntary efforts, previously recognized, which conserve California’s resources, protect and enhance its environment and strengthen the economy.”
CSWA, a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization established by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers more than a decade ago, was recognized for increased adoption of sustainable winegrowing practices in the state and for adding several educational tools and improvements. CSWA now has 1,900 vineyards and wineries as program participants, representing more than 70 percent of California’s vineyard acreage and case shipments. It has also held 400 sustainable winegrowing workshops throughout California attended by 11,000 growers and winemakers.
“We are honored to be recognized with the Governor’s Award,” said Wine Institute President and CEO Robert P. (Bobby) Koch. “There is growing interest in sustainability, and CSWA is helping us to be the world leader in producing high quality grapes and wine using sustainable practices.”
“This recognition is welcomed,” said California Association of Winegrape Growers President John Aguirre. “CSWA has worked hard to translate the California industry’s tradition of sustainability into a set of tools that help growers and vintners respond to evolving market expectations and a demanding regulatory environment.”
“Vintner-grower participation in self-assessment, educational workshops and certification continues to expand,” said CSWA Executive Director Allison Jordan. “This effort has been supported with CSWA releasing its third-edition Code workbook with updated best practices and an online version. Additional improvements include new tools such as the Greenhouse Gas calculator, an educational video series and a consumer-friendly Down to Earth book that illustrates sustainable winegrowing practices throughout the year.”
The annual GEELA program is administered by the California Environmental Protection Agency and the Natural Resources Agency, in partnership with the Department of Food and Agriculture, Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, California Integrated Waste Management Board, and the State and Consumer Services Agency. More information about CSWA is at www.sustainablewinegrowing.org.
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