California Gov. Jerry Brown’s annual Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA) ceremony honored the Lodi Winegrape Commission and its Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing program last night at the California Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Sacramento. The award represents the highest environmental award in the state of California. The Lodi Winegrape Commission was one of 12 California organizations that received the distinction, recognized for its mission to address major environmental, economic and social challenges facing California agricultural industry.
"We are honored to receive this recognition of the innovative leadership of the Winegrape growers of Lodi and their commitment to sustainability, the community and farming for generations to come,” said Camron King, executive director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission.
Lodi Rules is California’s first third party-certified sustainable winegrowing program. It promotes practices that enhance biodiversity, soil and water health, community and employee well being, ensuring that quality grape-growing needs are met today without compromising the needs of future generations. The goal of the program is to support grower adoption of sustainable practices and to communicate this commitment to wineries and the general public. Lodi Rules has been and continues to be used as a model for other sustainable winegrowing certification programs internationally.
Launched in 2005, Lodi Rules grew out of the Lodi Sustainable Winegrowing program, which was awarded a 2006 GEELA for success with promoting grower adoption of Integrated Pest Management practices. Since then, the Lodi Rules has expanded and evolved, with the program growing to over 85 farming operations, and 20,000 acres of Lodi vineyards that have been certified. There are an additional 6,000 acres certified from Sonoma to Soledad. More than 20 wineries now produce wines that bear the Lodi Rules seal on the label.
These region-wide standards have been endorsed by Protected Harvest, a non-profit organization comprised of scientists, academics and environmentalists that certifies farmer’s use of stringent environmental growing standards.
There are now 101 farming practice standards in six chapters: Business Management, Human Resources, Ecosystem Management, Soil Management, Water Management, and Pest Management.
The 2014 GEELA finalists were chosen by a panel of judges that included the Governor’s Office and the secretaries of the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency; the California Department of Food and Agriculture; the California Environmental Protection Agency; the California Health and Human Services Agency; the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency; the California Natural Resources Agency; and the California State Transportation Agency.
Source: Lodi Wine Country