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How One “Boss Lady” and Her Team is Changing the Way Sonoma County Grows Grapes

Updated: Aug 2, 2019

What if I told you Sonoma County is currently over 90% certified sustainable?


I guess to really let that set in, we should probably have a better understanding of exactly what sustainability means. In the charter for the UCLA Sustainability committee, it’s defined as: “the physical development and institutional operating practices that meet the needs of present users without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, particularly with regard to use and waste of natural resources. Sustainable practices support ecological, human, and economic health and vitality. Sustainability presumes that resources are finite, and should be used conservatively and wisely with a view to long-term priorities and consequences of the ways in which resources are used.”


Got all that? Basically, we need to protect the world we leave behind to our kids…and their kids.


It seems perfect timing that I would have the honor of meeting, Karissa Kruse, President of the Sonoma County Winegrowers during Women’s History Month…especially considering she’s on the way to making history as we speak. When you first meet Karissa you’re instantly drawn in by the passion she has for all things Sonoma County. It’s not just about the wine…it’s the people, the food, the land and the community as a whole. Listening to her speak in front of a group of wine influencers and columnists had me thinking about cancelling my trip to Paris in April and re-routing myself to Sonoma for the week. Not kidding.


The sustainability journey began on January 15th, 2014 when the Sonoma County Winegrowers announced their commitment to becoming the nation’s first 100% sustainable wine region by the end of 2019. It’s not always easy to get everyone on board with a new initiative, especially when you consider more than 85% of the vineyards in Sonoma County are family owned and have been doing things one way for decades. However, when you break it down and realize sustainability is necessary for these families to thrive for generations to come, it becomes clear that this direction is imperative to maintain the production of world class wine in this region.


With Karissa leading the pack, Sonoma County has already achieved over 90% certified sustainability! I have no doubt her and her team will achieve their goal by the end of the year. Now that’s what I like to call a “boss move.”


How can we all support this cause? Well, that’s pretty easy…buy wine with the Sonoma County Sustainability logo (note these were just launched in 2017). To find out more about what makes a wine eligible for this label, click here.


When you take care of the land and its people, the land and its people will take care of you.


For more information about the Sonoma County Winegrowers and their mission statement, click here.

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