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Tuesday, Aug. 03, 2010

Washington groups lands $128K grant to seed sustainable practices

CASHMERE — The Washington Wine Industry Foundation was awarded $128,250 from the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant program to build a Guide to Sustainable Winery Practices.

Dubbed “Winery Wise”, the guide is to provide an educational resource to Washington wineries seeking to improve their sustainability.

Winery Wise will be a free and web-based tool with information to help promote sustainability through environmentally sound, economically feasible, and socially equitable practices.

Winery Wise was patterned after Vinewise, the successful guide to sustainable viticulture, now operated by the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers and also initiated through grant funds.

A group of volunteer wineries will be identified to measure their changes in energy and water consumption over a year of implementing “Winery Wise in Practice.”

Data will be compiled and analyzed, providing “real life” examples of Winery Wise education. Using the information, an outreach plan will provide training opportunities for all Washington wineries.

“I am very excited about the opportunity the grant affords us in bringing the Winery Wise guide to full fruition and further propelling Washington State wineries to improved sustainability,” says Joy Andersen, Snoqualmie winemaker and Chair of the Winery Wise Steering Committee.

Washington wineries and grape growers represent a high value specialty crop, adding $3 billion to the state economy and $4.7 billion to the U.S. economy annually.

With more than 650 wineries now bonded in Washington State and projections for this number to triple over the next 10 years, Washington wine production provides an opportunity to reduce consumption of water, fuel, electricity, glass and other natural resources through Winery Wise.