Rutherford Dust Society Board Member Chris Morisoli, RDS Vice President Lauren Leeds-Pesch, Anna Brittain (Director of Napa Green), Sara Soergel (Executive Director of RDS), and RDS 2020 Board President Steve Tonella
RUTHERFORD, CA –The Rutherford Dust Society (RDS), the twenty-five-year-old organization of growers and vintners in the Rutherford appellation, announced today that all of their landholding members are now active in the Napa Green Land program, making Rutherford the first appellation association to achieve 100% participation in the sustainable winegrowing certification.
“We were thrilled when Rutherford set the goal to become the first AVA with 100% Napa Green Certified Land, and impressed with how quickly their members got onboard and made this happen,” said Anna Brittain, director of the Napa Green program. Brittain and others met monthly with Rutherford Dust Society board members to review parcel status, plan outreach, and document progress along the way. “We are excited to celebrate this achievement by the Rutherford AVA and their commitment to environmental stewardship.”
Napa Green Land and Napa Green Winery certifications offer the opportunity for comprehensive, soil to bottle sustainability certification in the Napa Valley. Napa Green Land certification includes developing a custom, whole-farm conservation plan to prevent erosion and sediment runoff, reduce potentially harmful inputs, conserve water resources, protect riparian habitat and commit to social equity, all of which contributes to a healthy and thriving Napa River watershed. Napa Green Certified Wineries implement more than 100 sustainability practices to improve energy and water efficiency, prevent waste, take climate action and care for and engage employees. Independent, third-party certification of farms and winemaking facilities makes Napa Green one of the most rigorous sustainability accreditations the wine industry offers.
“We need to protect Rutherford land now and for the future,” said Lauren Leeds-Pesch, a fourth-generation Rutherford grape grower and vice president of Rutherford Dust Society’s Board of Directors, who spearheaded the Napa Green effort. “The Napa Green program gave us an opportunity to take sustainability to the next level for our AVA, and Rutherford Dust Society members have stepped up to that challenge.”
The Rutherford appellation has a long history of leadership in sustainability. In 2002, Rutherford Dust Society initiated a restoration effort along the Rutherford reach of the Napa River. The Rutherford Dust Restoration Team (RDRT) secured 100% buy-in from twenty-eight separate landowners, who in turn committed eighteen acres of prime vineyard land to convert back to floodplain and native riparian forest. Completed in 2015, the restored 4.5-mile reach features new floodplain benches and secondary channels, instream structures to enhance spawning and rearing habitat, berm setbacks, and invasive plant removal and native species revegetation. RDRT remains one of the most ambitious agricultural landowner-initiated voluntary ecosystem restoration efforts in California to date.
Being the first AVA association to achieve 100% participation in Napa Green Certified Land is in perfect alignment with the Society’s mission, which is to encourage and promote the highest quality standards in grape growing and winemaking in the Rutherford Viticultural Area, to be good stewards of the land while building community, and to help wine lovers and the wine trade discover Rutherford’s expression of its unique terroir.
The Rutherford Appellation is located in the historic heart of the Napa Valley. It is known worldwide for its signature “Rutherford dust”, a term used to reflect its terroir, its deep connection to the soil in the vineyards, the wine and the wineries of Rutherford. In collaboration with its grower and vintner members, RDS focuses on helping wine consumers, trade and media discover the celebrated Rutherford terroir, while promoting highest quality standards for grape growing and winemaking in the region. The group dedicated 14 years to the highly successful RDRT (Rutherford Dust Restoration Team) project and restoring the Rutherford Reach section of the Napa River. For more information about the Rutherford Appellation and the Rutherford Dust Society, please go to rutherforddust.org.