The New York Wine & Grape Foundation today announces the launch of the first Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing (LISW) online training program, the Sustainable Wine Professional Course. As only sustainable certification program for winegrowers in the Eastern United States, the new online curriculum is part of a stakeholder engagement initiative to inform and certify winery tasting room and hospitality staff.
If the vines must be treated with pesticides, we want to use the least toxic pesticides. This is because we live on our farm and I do not want my family and especially my grandchildren to be exposed to unnecessary toxicity. Because we also have workers who work in the vineyards and because we have neighbors who border our vineyards. We want the least toxic pesticides whether they are considered "conventional" or " organic".
“For us, sustainability has to do with water,” says Richard Olsen-Harbich the winemaker at Bedell Cellars and a founding member of Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing, referring to both groundwater and the surrounding waters of the Peconic Bay and Long Island Sound.
Overall, the survey indicates high consumer interest in sustainably produced wine, and consumers harbor a favorable perception of sustainable certification programs as well. In addition, consumers show “…a willingness to pay more for sustainably produced wine, particularly Millennials and Gen Z.”
The research indicated high interest in purchasing sustainably produced wine in the future, a favorable perception of sustainable certification programs and certification logos, and a willingness to pay more for sustainably produced wine, particularly by Millennials and Gen Z.
“LISW Sustainable Certification guarantees that there is a devoted farm winery behind every bottle,” says Beaman, who is also LISW’s program manager. “We don’t want just one good vintage. We strive to be environmental stewards for the great vintages to come.”
Richard Olsen-Harbich, winemaker at Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue, said this year’s bud break is the earliest his winery has seen since 2010 – but it’s not necessarily early from a historical standpoint.
Whitney Beaman, program manager for Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing, spoke about the success of the not-for-profit LISW, inspired by the VineBalance Guide to New York Viticulture. The LISW started with just a few members and now includes 22 estates and over 1,000 acres of vineyard, representing about half of the Long Island wine industry.
“We keep copper sprays to a bare minimum and certainly try to stay away from later applications closer to harvest. Apart from being a heavy metal, it affects the taste and the mouthfeel." Roth says that the Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing group is looking for alternative materials.
With Lynne's support, Olsen-Harbich also led the region in sustainability efforts, creating the best-practices Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing initiative in 2012.