George Jacob, president & CEO, Bay Ecotarium
Environmental engagement has never been stronger in California, especially in the wine county, with more and more wineries embracing sustainable green practices.
NAPA Green certification is led by Anna Brittain(above main photo) who has worked locally, nationally, and internationally on environmental management and policy with organizations ranging from the environmental economics think tank, Resources for the Future in Washington, DC to the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Hanoi, Vietnam. She has spent ten years working on sustainability in the wine industry, with an expertise in communications and certification standards. She has helped lead the growth of the Napa Green program for the past six years.
As the name suggests, NAPA GREEN is a comprehensive program designed to encourage sustainable wine growing practices that care for nature and nurture exemplary stewardship to stem climate change. The program extends into how winegrowers and employers extend the quality-of-life experience to their employees, communities and customers.
With twin focuses on both the Land and the Winery, the Green practices are aimed at optimizing resources and offering a 360-consumer curation that meets certain environmental compliance standards. The Green Land Certification requires a plan that articulates prevention of soil erosion and sediment run-off and conservation of water resources through efficient irrigation, frost protection and restoration of riparian habitat. While the Napa Green Winery is a soil-to-bottle certification in both the vineyard and winery. It requires growers to generate waste prevention methods, composting, reduction of Green House Gas emissions and carbon foot-print in their packaging, transportation, and resilient practices. Currently, there are 92 Napa Green Certified Wineries, 621 that are Napa Land Green Certified, and 60 wineries that are Soil-to-Bottle certified.
Napa and Sonoma have a 200-year history of wine-making that has steadily gained in tourism and worldwide consumption over the years. With hundreds of wineries in the Napa Valley, it produces a whopping 6 million cases bringing billions of dollars in sales attracting nearly 4 million tourists a year. Wine is one of the most valuable agricultural produce exported from California, rising to international acclaim after winning in both Red and White categories at the historic blind Paris Wine Tasting of 1976.
As the most significant tourism driver in California after Disney, it has seen major set-back with Covid impacting growing grapes, manufacturing, supply chain and consumption. According to a recent Wine Institute Business Impact Report, the estimated 2020 losses are upwards of $4.2 billion with
16,369 in direct job losses, and an additional 26,000 in allied sectors. Its devastating impact can be seen in 70% drop in hotels and retail revenues, with smaller establishments going bankrupt or debt-burdened.
As the sublime nectar duels with the pandemic grapes of wrath, the wines will weave their magic, yet again, in not too distant a future. Cheers California!
George Jacob FRCGS is the President & CEO of Bay Ecotarium- the largest non-profit watershed conservation group in San Francisco Bay Area with seven branches, including Aquarium of the Bay, Sea Lion Center, Bay Academy, Studio Aqua, Bay Model, Eco-Xpeditions and the Bay Institute, celebrating its 40th year in environmental advocacy.