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14 Dec 2018

Environmental Best Practices in Vineyards

The number of vineyards in the United States, and abroad, have grown substantially over the last 20 years.  New technology and controlled stainless steel fermentation processes have improved the product of even relatively small vineyards.  Many of the best vineyards are also focusing on their environmental impacts to ensure sustainability.  They are finding that taking a hard look at some of their processes can reduce negative environmental impacts, and in fact, reduce operating costs. 

Implementing an ISO 14001:2015 based Environmental Management Systems can help a vineyard archive sustainability and reduce operating costs.  It can also get the organization recognized as a responsible business neighbor in the community with happy and proud employees.  It starts with the owner’s decision to implement an environmental management system, then getting all employees aware, and on onboard to help improve operational processes.  

Environmental Management Systems (EMS) address recycling, and water conservation. These are important elements that are common to all vineyards.  One company that was spending over $50,000 a year on recycling, not only reduced their recycling cost, they actually saved over $7,000 a year after introducing a new recycling program as a part of their EMS. The program included 95% of its solid waste, packaging, and recycling.  New approaches to water use and heat exchange were able to reduce water use by over 35%.  Water used in the winemaking process is now processed on site and used in the vineyards, instead of being flushed down the drain. 

An EMS gets organizations to address the environmental aspects of their business and the impact they have taken into consideration the business environment they operate in, the needs of the stakeholders and risks associated with their business. Let us consider the aspect of energy use and the impact it has on the business including the organization’s carbon footprint. Taking the example further installing solar panels on buildings reduces energy operating costs and produces no carbon emissions.   One company was able to use solar for 75% of its energy use. 

QMII, with its 32 plus years of experience, can help a vineyard educate its employees so they are aware of the requirements of the internationally recognized and accepted standard for Environmental Management Systems – ISO 14001. Our course will outline the next steps the vineyard can take to begin implementing an EMS within their business.  We offer introductory environmental management system courses that will help a vineyard conform and/or become certified to the Standard.

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