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The Washington wine industry has announced the state’s first certified sustainability program, Sustainable WA. The program has been created specifically for growers of wine grapes and is expected to begin certifying vineyards this summer.

To achieve certification, growers must commit to sustainable viticulture practices and pass an audit through a third-party to ensure vineyard operations will meet Sustainable WA’s established standards, a release said. 

“From pest and disease management to sustainable water management, prioritizing worker health and safety and tracking various inputs, this program is environmentally sound, socially equitable, and economically viable,” said Sustainable WA program manager Katlyn Slone in the release. 

While the program currently only offers certification for vineyards, it plans to include wineries in the future. After that, wineries would be able to add Sustainable WA certifications to their labels to signify to customers that its products were created with sustainably cultivated grapes.

“Data shows the demand for sustainable products to be high,” said Steve Warner, president of the Washington State Wine Commission, in the release. “This program is imperative for the future of Washington wine not only to ensure healthy, productive vineyards and wineries for generations to come, but also to remain relevant in the global marketplace.”

Sustainable WA was launched with almost two decades of planning in mind, the release said. The state wine industry originally created an educational sustainability program roughly 20 years ago named Vinewise/Winerywise with the intentions of scaling up to a certification process.

In 2019, an industry committee of more than 40 of Washington’s growers, wine vendors, and marketing professionals came together to build upon the existing programs to create Sustainable WA in collaboration with sustainability consultant SureHarvest.

This year, a small group of volunteer growers participated in a Beta test to provide feedback to before fully launching the program.

Sustainable WA is a collaboration between Washington Winegrowers, the Washington State Wine Commission, the Washington Wine Industry Foundation, and the Washington Wine Institute.

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