California Wine Institute: California wineries to lower greenhouse gas emissions


SAN FRANCISCO – The California Wine Institute, the trade organization of California wineries, has developed, in cooperation with wine organizations from New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, an international “Greenhouse Gas Accounting Protocol”. With increased attention to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, the goal of the project is to provide a free, easy-to-use, wine industry specific, greenhouse gas protocol and calculator that will measure the carbon footprints of winery and vineyard operations of all sizes.

“This Greenhouse Gas Accounting Protocol is a natural complement to the California wine industry’s commitment to environmental stewardship and leadership in sustainable winegrowing,” said Bobby Koch, president of the California Wine Institute. “Our wineries, the majority of which are family owned, believe that tools such as this are important to the long-term viability and health of their businesses.” Although the wine industry and most other agricultural industries are considered low producers of carbon emissions, greenhouse gas issues are becoming more significant and this project will contribute towards the goal that the state of California has set for itself; to reach 1990 carbon emission levels by the year 2020.

“Though wine accounts for minimal air emissions, many California vintners and growers have been leaders in developing sustainable winemaking and winegrowing practices, and are advancing the concept of environmental responsibility for the wine industry,” said Paul Molleman, California Wine Institute’s European Director. “This tool will further help the wine community understand how and which operations impact air quality and
help managers develop strategies for reducing emissions.”

The California Wine Institute and its global partnership of wine associations contracted Provisor Pt Ltd, a consultancy firm with expertise in resource accounting in the wine industry, to develop the international wine industry protocol, based on the “Greenhouse Gas Protocol” set by the World Resources Institute. Following this methodology, the group determined three “scopes” of emissions in the wine life cycle to be included in product footprint calculations.

  • Scope 1 – Direct emissions over which the company has direct control. Examples include fuel use for water heaters, frost fighting equipment, tractors, trucks, and
  • Scope 2 – Indirect emissions from the production of purchased electricity, heat or steam.
  • Scope 3 – Indirect emissions from all activities that are purchased from other companies. Examples include production of purchased materials such as packaging
    material, transportation of purchased products to the winery and transportation of wine products to the stores.

This easy-to-use wine industry specific protocol and the excel-based calculator are intended for use by the global wine industry and are being shared with other trade organizations to build widespread use of the tool as the industry standard.

Established in 1934, the California Wine Institute is the trade organization of 1,100 California wineries. It represents 90 percent of all U.S. wine production and 95 percent of all U.S. wine exports. The site has more details about the greenhouse gas accounting tool as well as on sustainable farming in California.

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