The new Napa Green Vineyard program is the first sustainable winegrowing certification to focus specifically on climate action, regenerative farming, and social equity, justice and inclusion. Napa Green Vineyard certification provides a pathway for growers to improve soil health, become carbon neutral to negative within six to nine years, and increase the resilience of vineyards, businesses, and our community.
The Napa Green Vineyard certification standards have six core elements:
We recognize that our wine region cannot solve climate change or social inequities, but we have a powerful leadership platform. Our commitment to sustainability sets a standard that is recognized by the global wine industry, beverage sector and beyond.
Sustainability rests on three pillars: People, Planet and Prosperity. For Napa Green we describe it as caring for the health of nature, caring for the health of employees and community, and caring for the health and resilience of conscientious businesses. All too often sustainability is simply equated with environmental stewardship. With this new certification we sought to create rigorous and timely social equity standards that address specific challenges and opportunities within our industry and community and facilitate meaningful progress and impact.
The Napa Green Land (NGL) program was originally developed by more than 30 local environmental, community and regulatory stakeholders in the early 2000s. Because the Napa River was known to have excessive sediment at that time, NGL was originally developed for participants to meet and exceed environmental compliance standards to prevent erosion and improve the overall health of the Napa River watershed.
Beginning in 2004, NGL functionally acted as an umbrella program that recognized growers who were third-party certified through a program called “Fish Friendly Farming” (FFF), customized for the Napa County regulatory context. In 2016, NGL recognition expanded to include LandSmart, an open-source program managed by the Napa County Resource Conservation District (RCD), designed with similar goals and best practices to facilitate compliance and watershed stewardship.
In 2017, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Board adopted vineyard Waste Discharge Requirements (WDR), which applied to all Napa and Sonoma County vineyard watershed properties of five or more acres. Both of the pathways recognized by NGL – FFF and LandSmart – provided participating growers with certified farm plans that met the WDR requirements and facilitated this new level of regulatory compliance.
All things must grow and evolve. For over 16 years the original Napa Green Land model has done great things to prevent erosion, improve the health of our watershed and help the Napa River begin to rebound. Now we must shift our attention to two of the most critical issues facing our industry: climate action and social equity.