Sustainable WA Partners with Salmon-Safe for Dual Vineyard Certification

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Vineyards can now achieve both Sustainable WA and Salmon-Safe certification simultaneously

Mercer Estates, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington.

Andrea Johnson Photography.
Andrea Johnson Photography.

Seattle, WA, April 11, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Washington wine industry today announced an exciting partnership between the state’s sustainability certification for winegrapes – Sustainable WA – and Salmon-Safe, a leading U.S. regional eco-label focused on watershed protection. Following an 18-month development process, Sustainable WA is joining with Salmon-Safe in a certification partnership to enhance water quality protection, wildlife habitat conservation, and climate resiliency. As part of the updated Sustainable WA Standard, vineyards in the program now have the option of obtaining dual certification for both Sustainable WA and Salmon-Safe, provided all standards are met.

“We are thrilled to have this partnership with Salmon-Safe, bringing these associations together for dual certification in support of sustainable practices and water quality protection for our Washington wine industry. This harmonization of the Sustainable WA certification program showcases our industry’s commitment to continuous improvement and best practices,” said Colleen Frei, Executive Director of Washington Winegrowers Association.

Sustainable WA was launched in 2022 as Washington’s first statewide certified sustainability program for winegrapes, signifying a commitment to quality fruit, environmental stewardship, and healthy communities. It is a partnership between the Washington Winegrowers Association, the Washington State Wine Commission, the Washington Wine Industry Foundation, and the Washington Wine Institute, with oversight by an industry-led governance council and technical committee. It is a rigorous, science-based program, built by industry and experts in the field of sustainability and is committed to the principle of continuous improvement.

Salmon-Safe is a leading U.S. ecolabel that works to keep urban and agricultural watersheds healthy for native salmon. More than 95,000 acres of farm and urban lands in the Pacific Northwest have transitioned to Salmon-Safe certification in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California and British Columbia. For viticulture, the focus of Salmon-Safe is reducing vineyard runoff, water quality protection, and enhancement of native biodiversity on vineyard sites.

“We know that Sustainable WA winegrowers have a commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Dan Kent, executive director of Salmon-Safe. “Offering joint certification is a way for us to bring a strengthened and science-based focus on watershed impact to Sustainable WA as certified vineyard operations lead the way to healthier Columbia Basin waterways.”

To achieve dual certification, growers must commit to sustainable viticultural practices and pass a third-party audit to ensure operations meet established standards. Once vineyards are certified, wineries can feature the Sustainable WA logo on their bottles if the wines are made of 75% certified Sustainable WA winegrapes. To utilize the Salmon-Safe logo, the wines must include 95% Salmon-Safe certified winegrapes.

“The certification partnership between Sustainable WA and Salmon-Safe adds a layer of credibility to Washington’s program by ensuring that vineyards are using verified environmental practices that protect our local watersheds,” said Sadie Drury, Vineyard Manager at North Slope Management and Sustainable WA winegrower.

Nearly a third of Washington’s vineyard acreage is currently in the Sustainable WA program, with more expected in the coming years. Vineyard registration for the 2024 season is now open at sustainablewa.com.

About Sustainable WA:
Sustainable WA covers the pillars of sustainability: environmentally sound, socially equitable, and economically viable. It is a rigorous, science-based program and built with continuous improvement in mind. Sustainable WA was built by and for the industry, specifically for Washington vineyards. It is a partnership between the Washington Winegrowers Association, the Washington State Wine Commission, the Washington Wine Industry Foundation, and the Washington Wine Institute, with oversight by an industry-led governance council and technical committee. To learn more, visit sustainablewa.com.

About Salmon-Safe:
Founded by river and native fish conservation organization Pacific Rivers, Salmon-Safe’s mission is to inspire the transformation of land management practices so Pacific salmon can thrive in West Coast watersheds. Salmon-Safe is an independent Portland-based nonprofit offering peer-reviewed environmental certification focused on water quality protection, habitat restoration, and climate resiliency. In the Columbia Basin, Salmon-Safe works through a network of place-based partnerships with conservation districts, environmental NGOs, land trusts, and other collaborators. To learn more, visit www.salmonsafe.org.

About the Washington Winegrowers Association:
Founded in 1983, the Washington Winegrowers Association supports winegrape growers, vintners, and allied members by addressing industry needs and collaborating to enhance the Washington wine industry.  Washington Winegrowers Association provides state and federal advocacy and education on industry matters, serving as a unifying voice and stewarding relationships across the wine industry, with its members, growers, vintners, policymakers, educational institutions, and other industry partners. To learn more, visit www.wawinegrowers.org.

About the Washington State Wine Commission:
The Washington State Wine Commission (WSWC) represents every licensed winery and wine grape grower in Washington State. Guided by an appointed board, the mission of the WSWC is to drive growth of Washington Wine through Marketing, Communications, and Viticulture & Enology Research. Funded almost entirely by the industry through assessments based on grape and wine sales, WSWC is a state government agency, established by the legislature in 1987. To learn more, visit www.washingtonwine.org.

About the Washington Wine Industry Foundation
The Washington Wine Industry Foundation is a dynamic network of wine industry professionals united by a common vision: to foster a thriving Washington wine industry. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the Foundation facilitates, manages, and distributes funding to confront challenges and invest in solutions including scholarships, industry events, and sustainability such as pest control, clean plants, risk management, safety, and more. Through collaboration and partnerships, the Foundation honors the industry’s heritage while forging a path to a flourishing future for Washington wine. To learn more, visit www.washingtonwinefoundation.org.

About the Washington Wine Institute: The Washington Wine Institute is the vocal, active, visible advocate and champion of the Washington wine industry in Olympia and Washington D.C. To learn more, visit www.wwi.wine.

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CONTACT: Heather Bradshaw Washington State Wine Commission (206) 495-5844 [email protected] 

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