For winemakers like , sustainable practices in local grape production are an essential part of creating quality Long Island vintages and in keeping the area eco-friendly.
Which is why he and other local vintners have partnered to create Long Island Sustainable Wine Growing, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that “provides education and certification for sustainable farming practices in growing premium wine grapes on the East End,” according to a recent press release.
“We are eager to strengthen the ecological leadership and social responsibility of the Long Island wine region,” said Olsen-Harbich, winemaker at . “This effort has been an important process for Long Island wineries to demonstrate they are serious about making world-class wines that are also ecologically sensitive. New Yorkers should take pride knowing that the most sustainable and lowest carbon footprint wines are made right here in their own backyard, on the East End of Long Island.”
Other goals of the group are to begin multi-year certification process for Long Island farm wineries using international standards of sustainable practices in quality wine-grape production — standards that have been refined for Long Island in particular.
All Long Island vineyard owners have been invited to join the group, according to the statement. Founding partners are from Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue, in Mattituck, in Riverhead, and in Bridgehampton. These Long Island growers are joining the likes of those participating in similar programs in Oregon and California.
“We farm land that is part of an important watershed and the Long Island sustainable standards will guide local viticulturists in returning to more natural methods of farming," said Barbara Shinn, co-owner and viticulturist of Shinn Estate Vineyards. "Addressing our vineyards as living systems, setting aside biological compensation areas on the farm, and farming transparently and mindfully are key points to our standards."
Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing has worked with to write and codify specific sustainable grape growing guidelines for Long Island’s two certified American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) — the North Fork and The Hamptons. The organization has pending 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status and the first certified sustainable Long Island wines will be available for sale in early 2013.
For more information, go to lisustainablewine.org, facebook.com/sustainablewinegrowing, and twitter.com/liswinegrowing.