"Red, White or Green? Calif. Wine Choices Expand"

"Consumers of California wine easily can tell a red cabernet from a white chardonnay, and soon they will have a tool to determine whether it's green.

Winemakers and grape growers who forgo pesticides, sow cover crops, reduce waste and energy consumption, provide workers health insurance, and are mindful of their non-farming neighbors will be able to distinguish themselves as certifiably sustainable under a new third-party audit system announced Wednesday by the Wine Institute, a public policy advocacy group.

"People do want to know that the products they purchase are grown and produced in some sort of sustainable fashion," said Chris Savage, director of environmental affairs at Gallo Wines. "Our expectation is it will become even more important in the future."

Nearly a decade in the making, the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing Program is part marketing tool, part voluntary self-regulation, and partly a way to help consumers navigate an increasingly complicated purchase."

Tracie Cone reports for the Associated Press January 13, 2010.

Friday, January 15, 2010