Pilot program benchmarks J. Lohr's success as one of the first 17 California vineyards and wineries to earn third-party certification through the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance
J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines has earned the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CCSW) distinction from the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) for its estate vineyards in the appellations of Paso Robles and Arroyo Seco, Monterey County, as well as for its two wineries located in Paso Robles and San Jose. This certification is the end result of J. Lohr’s participation in a pioneering, statewide pilot program to establish criteria for, and provide third-party verification of, a vineyard’s and/or winery’s adherence to a “process of continuous improvement” in the adoption and implementation of sustainable winegrowing practices. Designed to assess and encourage environmental stewardship, conservation and socially equitable business standards, the certification evaluates practices that protect air and water quality, promote water conservation and energy efficiency, reduce pesticide use, and preserve ecosystems and animal habitats, among many others. The CSWA, which oversees the certification, was established as a non-profit organization by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) in 2003 to promote the benefits of sustainable winegrowing practices. To be eligible for certification, participants meet a set of 58 prerequisites that are among the 227 best management practices in the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices Self-Assessment Workbook. These prerequisites were established to ensure the integrity of the certification program, and a vineyard’s and/or winery’s assessment results are verified using a third-party auditor. A strong and vocal advocate of sustainable winegrowing practices, J. Lohr unveiled the largest solar tracking array in the wine industry—a 3-acre, 756-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) single-axis tracking system—in February of 2009 at its operations in Paso Robles, California. From start-up through December 14, 2009, this system has produced 1,542,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, enough to run 84 homes for one year. In addition to building this groundbreaking system, for many years J. Lohr has carefully established a cutting-edge program of sustainable practices, including the utilization of organic soil amendments throughout its 3,000-acre estate program, limited use of chemicals, erosion control, water conservation, extensive pomace composting and materials recycling. J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines has also helped to advance sustainability initiatives on an industry-wide scale, most recently with Jerry Lohr’s leadership in support of the new research and teaching winery and vineyard at the University of California, Davis, which will be completed by harvest of 2010. In addition to major gifts toward the construction of the facility’s sensory laboratory and fermentation hall by J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Jerry Lohr, The Wine Group and the Jackson family provided additional funding as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum Founders for the project. This funding will help the project attain LEED-Platinum certification—the benchmark for sustainable building and design standards and the highest rating awarded—making this the first winery facility of its type in the world. “We are proud of our new CCSW certification,” says Steve Lohr, executive vice president/chief operating officer of J. Lohr Vineyards. “It is both another important step in our commitment to environmentally conscious practices, and a validation of our hard work up to this point. It is also important on a broader scale. As one of the first wineries to achieve this certification, we are happy to be helping to expand the wine industry's widespread sustainability movement. This new independent, third-party certification is important for consumers, allowing them to trust the accuracy and integrity of a company’s sustainability claims.” J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines was founded in 1972 by Jerry Lohr, who was raised on a South Dakota farm, and has spent six decades actively farming—experience that informs J. Lohr’s respect for the land and focus on sustainability. J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines crafts a full line of internationally recognized wines from its 3,000 acres of estate vineyards in Paso Robles, Monterey County, and the Napa Valley. Offering an expressive range of styles, J. Lohr produces four tiers of signature wines: J. Lohr Estates, J. Lohr Vineyard Series, J. Lohr Cuvée Series and J. Lohr Gesture. J. Lohr also produces an array of flavorful wines under its Cypress Vineyards, ARIEL (non-alcoholic) and Painter Bridge labels.