Certification = Credibility 

Certification acts as a communication tool that can be used to market internal efforts to potential customers, showcasing the values and practices of your winery.  Certification can also be a tool for evaluating impacts and comparing your winery to industry best practices.

 

What U.S. Certifications Cover

Sustainable - Sustainable certifications can cover both wineries and vineyards and encompass a range of different criteria typically covering environmental, social equity and business operations.

Organic - Organic certified vineyard operations are done using limited pesticides and any chemicals that are used have been approved by the USDA for use under the organic certification.

Biodynamic - Biodynamic is a vineyard system that refers to a holistic method of farming that treats a vineyard like an ecosystem.  

US Certifications 

  • CSWA - California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance has a certification program for vineyards and wineries.  As of 2015, 68% of California vineyards have participated in the program and 138 wineries representing 65% of California case production had used the CSWA program to assess their operation. 
  • SIP - Sustainability in Practice is a practice and performance based system, as opposed to CSWA which focuses more on sustainability processes.  SIP allows for wines to use the SIP logo on a wine bottle if 85% or more of the wine is from SIP certified grapes.
  • Lodi Rules - The earliest vineyard sustainability certification program in California with an innovative Pesticide Environmental Assessment System (PEAS) that quantifies impacts and uses a risk assessment model to better manage pesticide use in a vineyard.
  • Fish Friendly Farming - A vineyard certification program focused on ecological impacts.
  • Napa Green - A Napa based certification for vineyards and wineries.
  • Biodynamic - Biodynamic wine is 100% organic and the vineyard is managed as a self-sustaining ecosystem that should be in harmony with its surrounding natural environment.  Biodynamic includes some very innovative practices based on ideas pioneered by early 20th-century Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner.  Sulfites may be used in very low amounts.  Certified wines may carry the Demeter logo.      
  • Organic - Organic wine is certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as wine produced with no use of artificial synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides.  This wine can carry the USDA organic logo.
    • This is different from wine that is labeled "grown from organic grapes", which has organic ingredients but the wine itself is not certified.  In the United States, wines certified organic cannot contain added sulfites which help preserve, stabilize and age wine.  Wines that use organically grown grapes may use a California Certified Organic Farmers Seal (CCOF).
  • Oregon LIVE - Pacific Northwest based certification. 
  • Salmon Safe - A Pacific Northwest based certification for vineyards that work in partnership with the LIVE certification.  
  • Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing - New York Long Island based sustainability program.

 

International Certifications (An incomplete list)