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This is Sustainability: LIVE Certification in Vineyards

We’re proud to be certified sustainable through LIVE and wanted to share a bit more about why we chose to pursue this certification and why we’re so passionate about what it means.  In this blog post, we’ll delve into what LIVE Certification entails and highlight five compelling reasons why we’re proud to embrace sustainable practices and carry the prestigious certification.

What, exactly, is LIVE Certification?

LIVE Certification, which stands for Low Input Viticulture and Enology, is a rigorous certification program that focuses on sustainable wine farming and production practices. The program was formed in1997 by a small group of visionary winegrowers in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. In 1999 they incorporated their fledgling organization as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and soon after achieved a prestigious accreditation from the European chapter of the IOBC. This certification is designed to promote environmentally friendly techniques, reduce chemical usage, and prioritize biodiversity conservation in vineyards. Vineyards and wineries that obtain LIVE Certification demonstrate their dedication to sustainable agriculture, ethical business practices, and the preservation of natural resources.

Four Reasons to Celebrate LIVE Certification in Vineyards

1. Commitment to Sustainability in the Vineyards

Vineyards, like ours, that go through the rigorous certification process showcase their steadfast commitment to sustainability in every aspect of their operations. From soil management and water conservation to pest control and energy efficiency, members of LIVE prioritize eco-friendly practices that nurture the land and promote long-term environmental stewardship. As our vineyard manager, Bruce Sonnen, says; “we start by implementing non-chemical means to control and curb potential problems.  On time farming practices are crucial to keep disease and insect pressure as low as possible.  Doing so properly leads to being able to use the ‘softest’ means possible for control. To date in 23 years of farming vineyards I have yet to use insecticide. That’s something that we’re proud of!”

2. Promotion of Sustainable Wine Making

Sustainability extends beyond the vineyards and into the winemaking process itself. Vineyards that carry LIVE Certification are dedicated to sustainable winemaking practices that prioritize quality, authenticity, and environmental responsibility. From using sustainable farming methods to employing energy-efficient production techniques and minimal intervention winemaking processes, these vineyards uphold the values of sustainability throughout the entire wine production cycle. 

3. Enhancement of Biodiversity, Conservation and Ecosystem Health

One of the core pillars of Live Certification is the promotion of biodiversity and ecosystem health in vineyards. By implementing practices such as cover cropping, integrated pest management, and habitat preservation, Live Certified vineyards create thriving ecosystems that support a wide range of flora and fauna. Plus, enhancing our biodiversity benefits the natural environment and contributes to the resilience and sustainability of the vineyard ecosystem. Our vineyard manager, Bruce, explains how we accomplish this; “in order to keep our biodiversity intact we use a machine called a spader for cultivation.  Soils at Van Duzer have heavy clay content – so normal disc-ing and rototilling would lead to more compaction. The spader attachment is a series of shovels that ‘spade dig’ and gently turn over the soil thus allowing for deeper cracking of the soil so as not to create a hard pan below surface.”

In addition, through Live Certification, vineyards play a vital role in safeguarding biodiversity, protecting native species, and fostering a harmonious relationship between agriculture and nature. We’ve demonstrated our commitment to this principle through our work with preserving endangered Fender Blue butterflies on our property, as well as native Oregon oak stands. 

4. Community Engagement and Ethical Business Practices

Sustainable vineyards that hold Live Certification are actively engaged with their local communities and uphold ethical business practices that prioritize social responsibility and transparency. From supporting local initiatives and charities to providing fair wages and safe working conditions for employees, Live Certified vineyards demonstrate their commitment to creating positive impact beyond their vineyard gates. By fostering strong relationships with their community and stakeholders, these vineyards contribute to the social and economic well-being of the regions in which they operate, creating a more sustainable and inclusive future for all.

By celebrating Live Certification and the principles it represents, we’re proud to highlight the importance of environmental responsibility, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable business practices in creating a future where wine production thrives in harmony with nature. Through Live Certification, we proud to pave the way for a more sustainable and resilient wine industry that benefits the planet, the people, and the wine.

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