Home Industry News Economics Tell Your Sustainable Wine Grape Growing Story, 30-min. Course

Tell Your Sustainable Wine Grape Growing Story, 30-min. Course

Vineyard Team recently released Tell Your Sustainable Story, a free, 30-minute online course designed to help hospitality, marketing, and sales staff answer the common question: what exactly makes your wine “sustainable”?

Since writing the first self-assessment for sustainable vineyard farming (the Positive Points System – PPS) in 1996, Vineyard Team has worked with national researchers and experienced growers to develop a block to bottle program that sets the gold standard for sustainable winegrowing.

Using the PPS as a foundation, industry members came together to launch SIP Certified in 2008. The goal was to develop a rigorous, third-party verified program so customers could trust that the wine in their bottle was made with care for the people and planet.

With over 40K acres across three states and 60.3 million SIP Certified bottles of wine, it is clear that farmers and winemakers support sustainable practices. However, there was an educational gap with consumer-facing staff.

Vineyard Team created this first of its kind educational course for sales and hospitality teams after learning two things:

1.     While consumers name food and beverage as one of the most important industries when it comes to sustainability, more than 1 in 4 US adults said they don’t know what makes a product sustainable (2022 Morning Consult, What Sustainability Means to Consumers).

2.     Nearly 6 in 10 consumers are willing to change their purchasing habits to help reduce negative environmental impacts (IMB Institute for Business Value, 2020).

This creates a perfect educational opportunity for wine brands to share their Sustainable Story to show their customers that they share their values.

Now staff members of sustainably minded brands have a roadmap to write their own unique story. In just 30 minutes, customer-facing staff can learn about sustainability, identify specific sustainable practices that their brand uses, and get relevant tips for sharing this valuable information with their customers.

At Center of Effort in San Luis Obispo, California, sustainability is a foundational part of their story. John Gayley, Hospitality Team Member, says when he takes guests on tours, he is constantly met with curiosity and fascination. “Guests ask questions about cover crops, irrigation, owl boxes, and more. Keeping staff educated on our commitment to sustainability reinforces our brand message with customers day in and day out.”

Consumers want to know what the brands they support are doing to address social and environmental issues (Certus, 2019). That’s why it’s so important for staff of sustainably-minded brands to be knowledgeable about their brand’s dedication to sustainability.

The course’s foundation is built upon SIP Certified’s 7 Values. This gives course takers a clear structure for writing their own Sustainable Story, i.e., identifying 7 specific ways their own brand practices sustainability.

During the course, participants will get inspired by specific examples of how Center of Effort and six other SIP Certified brands embody the 7 Values of Social Responsibility, Water Management, Safe Pest Management, Energy Efficiency, Habitat, Business, and Always Evolving.

After taking this course, staff will feel empowered by their deeper understanding of sustainability, and feel greater confidence to talk with their customers about the time and careful consideration that goes into producing their sustainable wines.

About the Vineyard Team

Vineyard Team is a 501(c)3 non-profit grower group dedicated to sustainable winegrowing since 1994. For nearly 30 years, Vineyard Team has built a network of over 300 local farmers, educating and guiding them toward sustainable vineyard practices.

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