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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

04/23 - Sustainability and Wine

"Sustainability" is a term that has become a household word, yet many are unsure what it means, how to support the concept or how all-encompassing it is.  Seafood that is sustainable is easy to figure - not depleting our resources for future generations and maintaining the health of our oceans. However, when it comes to wine, the term is a little less clear.  Our three guests this week will shed light on the topic from their own very active and diverse roles in the wine industry. 

Learn how you can be more supportive of the wine sustainability program and help preserve our resources, environment and health.

Wine Institute is the voice for California wine representing more than 1,000 wineries and affiliated businesses from the beautiful and diverse wine regions throughout the state.

As the largest advocacy and public policy association for California wine, and the only group representing the industry at the state, federal and international levels, the Wine Institute's Officers, Board of Directors and professional staff work to create an environment where the wine community can flourish and contribute in a positive fashion to our nation, state and local communities.

The Sustainable Winegrowing Program's mission, vision and values best describe the combination of factors that motivated the California wine community to design, develop, implement and report on a comprehensive sustainability program.


The long-term mission for the Sustainable Wine growing Program includes:

Establishing voluntary high standards of sustainable practices to be followed and maintained by the entire wine community

Enhancing winegrower-to-winegrower and vintner-to-vintner education on the importance of sustainable practices and how self-governing will enhance the economic viability and future of the wine community

Demonstrating how working closely with neighbors, communities and other stakeholders to maintain an open dialogue can address concerns, enhance mutual respect, and accelerate results


The vision of the Sustainable Wine growing Program is the long-term sustainability of the California wine community. To place the concept of sustainability into the context of wine growing, the program defines sustainable wine growing as growing and winemaking practices that are sensitive to the environment (Environmentally Sound), responsive to the needs and interests of society-at-large (Socially Equitable), and are economically feasible to implement and maintain (Economically Feasible). The combination of these three principles is often referred to as the three "E's" of sustainability
These three overarching principles provide a general direction to pursue sustainability.

However, these important principles need to be translated into the everyday operations of wine growing and winemaking. To bridge this gap between general principles and daily decision-making, the Code of Sustainable Wine growing Practices workbook's 15 self-assessment chapters translate the sustainability principles into specific wine growing and winemaking practices.


This program is guided by the following set of sustainability values:

  • Produce the best quality wine grapes and wine possible
  • Provide leadership in protecting the environment and conserving natural resources
  • Maintain the long-term viability of agricultural lands
  • Support the economic and social well being of farm and winery employees
  • Respect and communicate with neighbors and community members; respond to their concerns in a considerate manner
  • Enhance local communities through job creation, supporting local business and actively working on important community
  • Honor the California wine community's entrepreneurial spirit
  • Support research and education as well as monitor and evaluate existing practices to expedite continual improvements

To view a PDF of the introductory presentation from a self-assessment workshop to learn more about the program please click here.

Gladys Horiuchi
Communications Manager
Wine Institute

Gladys Horiuchi has been Communications Manager for 17 years for the Wine Institute, the leading public policy advocacy group for California wine, representing more than 1,000 wineries at the state, federal and international levels. 

Horiuchi has more than 25 years of experience in communications for the California wine industry.  Besides the Wine Institute, she has worked as a public relations manager for Guild Wineries, a staff writer for Sebastiani Vineyards and a freelance writer for Robert Mondavi Winery, Opus One Winery, Vichon Winery, Byron Winery and Wines & Vines and Practical Winery & Vineyard magazines.  Previously, Horiuchi was in the hospital industry as a communications professional for Sequoia Hospital and Seton Medical Center.  She has a BA degree in English with a teaching credential from the University of Utah. 


Steve Smit         
Chairman, Board of Directors 
California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance

Steve Smit is the vice president of vineyards and grape management for Constellation Brands, one of the leading premium wine companies in the world. With over 25 years of managing vineyards, Smit now oversees over 12,000 acres of vineyards in various regions of California, as well as managing the purchase of  grapes for all their West Coast wineries, covering over 40 brands.  Smit completed his B.S. in Chemistry at UC Berkeley and then received an M.S. in Viticulture at UC Davis, where he studied the effects of canopy management on wine quality.  He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the California Sustainable Wine Growing Alliance and the American Vineyard Foundation. 

Scott Curwood
Senior Manager
Environment & Sustainability
Treasury Wine Estates

Scott Curwood is a sustainability professional with 10 years’ experience in environmental management and 18 years’ experience in safety management.

He currently oversees environment and sustainability matters in the Americas for Treasury Wine Estates and has previously worked for Mercedes Benz, Fosters Ltd, various electricity distribution companies, and has run his own consultancy business.

Scott holds a Masters in Business Administration, majoring in sustainability, as well as environmental, safety and training qualifications. He strongly believes that robust sustainability actions not only reduce risk but also help drive better business outcomes.

Originally hailing from Melbourne Australia, Scott has lived and worked in the Napa Valley for the past 5 years and enjoys wine, golf and travel.

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