TEMPLETON - The Central Coast Vineyard Team got its start 13 years ago, and has grown considerably during that time.
Recently, it was honored twice by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, and the team's leader says that recognition feels good.
"It's very nice validation to show that the work that we're doing is important," said Kris O'Connor, the executive director at the Central Coast Vineyard Team.
The team now represents a few hundred wineries and growers primarily in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Monterey Counties.
"We're very excited how this group has grown from a grass roots grower group to receive considerable industry support throughout the area," said O'Connor.
The team's main goal is to promote sustainable wine growing, something the EPA feels it's doing well.
The federal government is giving the group nearly a quarter million dollars to fund a project aimed at reducing pesticide risk.
It's one of only five in the country to get the grant.
O'Connor is also thrilled and proud about the team's new vineyard certification program.
This is the pilot year, and she says 3,200 acres here on the Central Coast have already been certified sustainable.
"These standards are extremely robust looking at everything from energy to pesticides, to soil to also human resources," said O'Connor. "You know that people care about how farmers are treating the land, to how farmers are treating the people, so our standards really address that."