Agro-environmental partnerships facilitate sustainable wine-grape production and assessment
The California wine-grape sector has invested considerable time, money and effort in collective enterprises to reach fellow growers and assess the industry as a whole on sustainability. At the same time, California wine-grape production has become increasingly branded by particular geographic regions. Premium wine grapes are grown in regions with high population growth, high land values and often, charged environmental politics. Growers and their institutions have developed several agro-environmental partnerships to assess, improve and publicly represent their environmental stewardship and farming practices. We review trends in several regional and statewide indicators of sustainability, including crush prices, grape acreage, population growth and pesticide use. This review is based on 2 years of field research with participants in wine-grape partnerships, a review of documentary evidence, technical advisory work with the programs and summary assessment of case-study data, as well as an analysis of 10 years of Pesticide Use Report data for California wine-grape growers.