SONOMA COUNTY (KCBS) – There is a push in Sonoma County to adopt sustainable farming practices so that, over the next five years, every vineyard and winery can be certified as sustainable.

The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission is hoping to become the first wine region in the United States to be 100 percent sustainable.

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Karissa Kruse, president of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, said that, although sustainability has become a bit of a buzzword without everyone knowing exactly what it means, the process will be an exhaustive one for wineries and vineyards in the region.

“We’re actually using a set of practices that we’re promoting through the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. It looks at over 200 assessments – things like water use, purchasing responsibly, how you manage and support your people from a training and safety perspective,” Kruse said. “It’s really a holistic approach to sustainability, being economically viable and socially responsible, as well as a good steward environmentally by protecting your natural resources.”

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Kruse said that because many vineyards in Sonoma County are smaller and family-owned, quite a few have already adopting sustainable practices.

As for grape growers in Sonoma County, Kruse said most remain committed to the goal.

“They’re very, very positive. This is something that is not new. The growers in Sonoma County have been farming sustainably for years,” Kruse said. “The new piece is doing the data collection and going through the assessment process, where you’re formally thinking through all of those different activities, in a way that maybe you haven’t before.”

Many growers already have third-party certification for sustainability.

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