Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing Announces First Vineyards In Eastern U.S. To Achieve Sustainable Certification

May 17

(from a press release from Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing Inc.) North Fork of Long Island and The Hamptons, Long Island, New York (May 9, 2013)Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing, Inc. (LISW), a not-for-profit organization that provides education and certification for Long Island vineyards, announces the first vineyards in the eastern U.S. to earn certified sustainable status. Ten vineyards comprising over 400 acres of grapes on the East End of Long Island have been officially designated as “certified sustainable” vineyards for the 2012 vintage: Bedell Cellars, Channing Daughters Winery, Harbes Family Vineyard, Martha Clara Vineyards, One Woman Wines & Vineyards, Palmer Vineyards, Roanoke Vineyards, Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard, Shinn Estate Vineyards, and Wölffer Estate Vineyard. This announcement is a significant milestone in the 40-year history of Long Island wines, and there will be a commemorative celebration on Thursday, June 6, from 6:00-8:00PM at Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue, for invited members of the press and New York wine industry.

To earn sustainable farming certification, these 10 vineyards successfully implemented a comprehensive checklist of nearly 200 sustainable grape growing practices that include thoughtful vineyard planning, encouraged and prohibited materials and practices, and numerous ecological management options. The primary goal of technical farming standards is to maintain healthy farmland soils, conserve Long Island’s delicate maritime and estuary ecosystems, and protect ground and surface waters from leaching and runoff. In addition to implementing a comprehensive technical checklist, certified sustainable vineyards signed a vow to abide by 15 important sustainability guidelines that were created to foster respectful stewardship of Long Island’s historic farmlands for future generations.

A hallmark of the LISW certification program is the use of a rigorous, independent, third-party inspector: Allan Connell, former District Conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). Mr. Connell used the New York VineBalance Grower Workbook as a roadmap for evaluating sustainable vineyard practices.  In addition to the certified sustainable members of LISW, seven other Long Island vineyards joined LISW in 2013 and are “in transition” toward certification in the future. These transitional members are Mudd Vineyards, Sparkling Pointe, Kontokosta Winery, Water Mill Vineyard, Surrey Lane Vineyard, Mattebella Vineyards, and Lieb Cellars.

A core working group of leading Long Island wineries participated in the inception of LISW: Bedell Cellars, Channing Daughters Winery, Martha Clara Vineyards, and Shinn Estate Vineyards. These founding partners worked in conjunction with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County to write and codify specific sustainable grape growing guidelines for Long Island’s two AVAs: the North Fork of Long Island and The Hamptons, Long Island.

LISW recognizes that social responsibility complements the high quality winemaking and natural beauty already associated with the Long Island wine region. “The announcement of our first certified sustainable vineyards strengthens the ecological leadership and social responsibility of the Long Island wine region,” said Richard Olsen-Harbich, Winemaker at Bedell Cellars. “The effort of creating meaningful, rigorous sustainable farming standards for grape growers proves that Long Island wineries are serious about making world-class wines that are also ecologically sensitive.”

A list of sustainable farming guidelines is available from LISW upon request, and more information can be found at lisustainablewine.org, facebook.com/ sustainablewinegrowing, and twitter.com/liswinegrowing. LISW has 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status pending approval. For more information about tasting the first certified sustainable Long Island wines and their market availability, please contact the individual wineries.

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