Washington wine is sustainable by nature. It's at the heart of everything we do, from grape to glass.
Sustainability includes a broad set of science-based practices developed for local conditions and vineyard and winery scale. Objectives include natural resources, watershed protection, soil health, low input farming, employee and community stewardship and climate resilency. Sustainable practices satisfy the triple bottom line of environmental stewardship, social equity and economic viability.
Washington is the perfect climate for wine grapes. Wine grape growing in Washington is naturally sustainable because many pests, like insects, fungal diseases and weeds don't flourish here. Our climate and practices help keep pest populations and manageable.
- Winter freezes kill many pests
- Widespread use of drip irrigation helps control canopy vigor and density—reducing the environment for some pests
- Light-textured, lean, sandy soils are not preferred by many soil-borne pests
- Dry climate
- Persistent winds
- Warm temperatures
- Low humidity
New data and insight show increasing market demand for sustainable grape growing practices. Market research on consumer and trade perceptions on sustainable wine was conducted in late 2019 and January 2020 with funding from a Multi-State Specialty Block Grant. The research showed growth in the sustainable wine market and "all things being equal" in terms of product, nearly three-quarters of trade would purchase sustainably produced wine over one that is not.
Sustainability in Washington
Washington's sustainability program, called Vinewise\Winerywise, is an online platform of self-assesments and tools to evaluate current practices in the vineyard or winery from site selection and development to soil and water management to business and marketing plans and more. The program is free and signing up is easy: http://www.sustainablewineandgrape.org
Communicating Sustainability in the Tasting Room
A "sustainablity primer" was created to tell the story of Washington's natural sustainabilty. The primer can be used to help tasting room staff answer questions from consumers.