North Fork’s Impressive Sustainable Winegrowing Program

By Donna Giancontieri

Here on the North Fork, the sustainable winegrowing program is celebrating its eighth year and going strong. The participating winemakers have a impressive collective goal— minimize impact on the community plus keep the soil healthy to ensure a long lifespan for our vineyards.

There are no short cuts or a simple process to gain certification. This is a throwback to Old World wine-grape production standards that require education and ongoing commitment. Sustainable practices reduce chemicals and fertilizers to better protect the soil, drinking water, the agricultural workers, and the area’s abundant maritime ecosystems.

Better for the environment, better for the vineyards and better for the consumer.

The movement on Long Island officially kicked off in 2012 with Bedell, Martha Clara, Shinn Estates and Channing Daughters leading the charge. The winemakers worked with viticulture expert Alice Wise of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk. And, after more than a year of research and collaboration they developed the first certified sustainable viticulture program on the East Coast.

Next, they launched the non-profit Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing to oversee it. Before long, there were ten members. Today there are 22 participating vineyards on Long Island.

So, who is involved? North Fork vineyards participating include Bedell, Harbes, Kontokoska, Laurel Lakes, Lieb Cellars, Martha Clara, Mattebella, McCall, Mudd, Onabay, One Woman, Palmer, Paumanok, Raphael, Roanoke, Sannino, Shinn, Sparkling Pointe, and Surrey Lane. On the South Fork, Channing Daughters, Wolffer, and Corwith partcipate.

For more on the Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing program, go to http://www.lisustainablewine.org/ This website includes a video we highly recommend which features Bedell’s Rich Olsen-Harbich, who spearheaded this impressive movement, perfectly describing the motivation for, and the lasting benefits of, the local sustainability program.

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