Sustainability In Practice (SIP) Building a Community By Jaylene Marotte
hroughout Paso Robles and the Central California Coast, the SIPcertified label serves as a stamp of approval for wineries making efforts towards more eco-friendly farming. Upon closer look, Sustainability in Practice is more than just a program to help wineries identify and achieve their ecological goals. The SIP program brings together a community of people looking to ensure a bright future for the area with a benefit of also making a more pure product. The collective creators and managers of SIP, Central Coast Vineyard Team, has 300 members who represent over 80,000 acres of vineyards in California. From its inception as an informal self-assessment of farming practices, the program has now evolved into a well-respected third party certification process. In 1996 the Central Coast Vineyard Team introduced the Positive Points System, a self-assessment program that local owners of wineries could complete to help educate and guide their path to sustainability. The interest in participation was immediate â€“ more than 1000 assessments have been submitted since the beginning of the program. The SIP assessment has become a model under which other notable companies develop similar programs. In 2008, after four years of research and development, CCVT adopted a formal third-party assessment that awards successful participants SIP certification.
So, what is SIP? Simply stated, SIP is the idea of protecting both human and natural resources in the production of wines. The requirements of SIP extend beyond farming practices to also encompass how a winery manages its business and connects with the community. Rather than looking at just one part of the winery or vineyard, a full assessment is conducted to highlight practices that are not only good for the earth, but also good for the people working the vineyards or the winery and even those who drink the wine. A SIP-certified winery or vineyard is confirmation of more than how the fruit is grown or the wine is made, but also of how employees are treated and
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