A Systems Approach to Implement Area-Wide Metrics that Demonstrate the Impacts of Widespread IPM Adoption in All Major California Winegrowing Regions
The Sustainable Winegrowing Program (SWP) began in 2001 as a collaboration between California's winegrape growers and wineries to promote vineyard and winery practices that are sensitive to the environment, responsive to the needs and interests of society at large, and economically feasible to implement. The nonprofit CSWA sets project policy, develops budget guidelines, and conducts development activities.
The project's centerpiece has been the construction and application of a thirteen chapter, self-assessment workbook that growers and vintners use to voluntarily assess the sustainability of their pest management and other farm and winemaking practices. Included in the workbook is a built-in system with metrics to measure performance. During initial implementation (November 2002-April 2004), 72 self-assessment workshops were conducted and data was collected from 614 vineyard enterprises assessing 124,576 acres (23.5% of statewide total) and from 86 winery facilities producing 96.8 million cases of wine (38.7% of statewide total). Summaries of these data constitute the baselines against which progress is being measured.
Funding from American Farmland Trust continues to support subsequent phases of the SWP program. Year one funds (2004) enabled the preparation and widespread dissemination of the "California Wine Community Sustainability Report 2004," the conduct of 30 targeted education events (IPM and related practices), and other key achievements. Year two funds (April 2005-September 2006; includes no-cost extension are supporting the expansion of targeted education activities for IPM and related practices, the production and distribution of the California Wine Community Sustainability Progress Report 2006, and an upgrade of the self-assessment and reporting software. These achievements will increase the adoption of IPM and other sustainable vineyard and winery practices, encourage additional participation and collaboration both within the winegrape industry and with external partners, and further corroborate the SWP program as a model for other industries.
Project goals and objectives
1. Increase performance of IPM practices and approaches by at least one category relative to IPM criteria baselines for at least 25% of overall customer pool.
2. Design, produce, publish, and disseminate the 2005 California Wine Community Sustainability Progress Report including a specific section on IPM activities, achievements, and areas for continuous improvement.
3. Upgrade self-assessment and reporting software to enable assessment against air quality criteria, assist governmental agencies in prioritizing grower cost-share and incentive payments for conservation programs, and adapt for an ineractive web-based system
Two years of funding from American Farmland Trust has supported subsequent phases of the SWP.
Year-one (2004) achievements included the production of the first statewide sustainability report (California Wine Community Sustainability Report 2004), the development and implementation of a cost-effective extension model to complement self-assessment, and the conduct of 30 targeted education events.
CSWA applied year-two funds to further advance and strengthen the program by conducting 45 educational events targeting needs in IPM, quantifying progress in grower adoption of sustainable pest management practices (performance increased for 31 of 38 criteria), producing the second edition of the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices Self-Assessment Workbook which includes the new chapter Air Quality and other additions and updates relevant to pest management, and upgrading the SWP self-assessment and reporting software to correlate workbook criteria to NRCS practices and EQIP cost-share opportunities and to convert to an on-line assessment and reporting system.
These achievements over two years have validated the repeated use of the interrelated elements of self-assessment, customized reporting, targeted education, and action planning (i.e., the SWP “cycle of continuous improvement”) for rapidly and effectively increasing the adoption of sustainable practices. Through CSWA and SWP, the California winegrowing community substantiates its lead role in sustainable agriculture by balancing the economics of producing exceptional grapes and wine with high standards for environmental quality, human health, and social responsibility.