SANTA MARIA VALLEY - A new state-wide certification program is allowing wine makers, who practice sustainability, to stand out above others. It's called "SIP" Certification, which stands for Sustainability in Practice.
The Riverbench Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley recently received the seal.
Jim Strollberg explains, "We are making decisions to what is least invasive to the environment, and making the vineyard and the surrounding area sustainable, so we'll be able to do what we are doing, at a high level for many years to come."
He adds, "It's exciting because it really is a groundbreaking program. 00012300 Its a very categorized set of rules we follow."
That set of rules was developed over 15 years by a group of wine makers on the Central Coast. The "SIP" seal is now recognized statewide. It not only represents grape growers who take extreme care of the environment, but also their employees and communities.
Kris O'Connor of the Central Coast Vineyard Team says, "Our certification program addresses issues including employee benefits and how people are being good stewards of human resources."
Over 15,000 acres are now "SIP" certified here on the Central Coast. and about one hundred and sixty cases of wine currently have "SIP" approval.
Strollberg hopes other growers will follow in those footsteps, and that consumers will take notice.
"There's definitely a buzz... We are looking forward to having it be more mainstream. Of course our goal down the road is that consumers will want to buy our wine and know that we're doing things in the vineyard that others may not be doing, and they can support that."