The Science of Sustainable Wine

Posted in Blog, Wine on Tuesday, August 08, 2023

Two Mountain Winery is leading the charge for sustainable wine grape growing in Washington.

The Science of Sustainable Wine

NESTLED IN THE HEART OF THE YAKIMA VALLEY, Two Mountain Winery stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of sustainable agriculture. For four generations, this family-owned winery has passionately cultivated grapes and crafted fine wines on its expansive 300-acre vineyard. In a pioneering move, Two Mountain Winery became the first Washington vineyard to achieve the esteemed green certification through RULES for Sustainable Wine Growing in 2020, demonstrating their commitment to environmental stewardship and community well-being.

Acknowledging the significance of sustainable practices, Two Mountain Winery collaborated with Sustainable WA to create a Washington-specific certification, catering specifically to the unique needs of local growers. Sustainable WA, an industry-led initiative, aims to ensure a thriving future for the agricultural community by emphasizing three key pillars: environmental soundness, social equity, and economic viability. Under this certification, vineyard owners are required to undergo regular, third-party audits to ensure adherence to sustainable practices. 

Patrick Rawn, the vineyard operations manager at Two Mountain Winery, describes the Sustainable WA certification as a valuable checklist of best practices that encourages farmers to adopt a holistic approach to farm management. Rawn emphasizes the importance of considering the impact on the environment, the well-being of the team, and the long-term sustainability of the business. He states, "We can be the best farmers in the world, but if we can't do that and stay in business, it doesn't mean anything." 

Two Mountain Winery has implemented several exemplary practices that have earned them recognition as leaders in sustainable agriculture. One notable practice is the utilization of cover crops between vineyard rows, which not only retains moisture, but also increases soil temperature, fostering a healthier growing environment. Additionally, the winery has installed a state-of-the-art moisture monitoring system, equipped with probes placed strategically throughout the vineyard. These probes measure moisture levels at four-inch intervals down to a depth of 36 inches. By closely monitoring water usage, Two Mountain Winery has successfully reduced water consumption by an impressive 25%.

Rawn highlights the critical role of responsible water management, stating, "Water is a finite resource, and we should be doing everything we can to use as little of it as possible." By adopting such practices, Two Mountain Winery sets a commendable example for the entire industry, showcasing the positive impact that sustainable agricultural practices can have on conserving natural resources and mitigating environmental impacts. 

The work being done at Two Mountain Winery and through Sustainable WA transcends the boundaries of their vineyards, positively impacting grape growers, winemakers, and consumers across the state. By committing to sustainable practices, the winery ensures a vibrant agricultural future, where generations to come can continue to farm and thrive in harmony with nature.

As Two Mountain Winery's story unfolds, it serves as an inspiration for wineries and growers worldwide, proving that by prioritizing sustainable practices, we can preserve the essence of our land, safeguard the well-being of our communities, and raise a glass to a promising future. 

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