WINE 101

YourWineStore Sustainability

May 1, 2024

What Do Sustainable Wine Certifications Actually Mean? 

Sustainability is more than a buzzword at YourWineStore. We truly believe quality wines come from vineyards and wineries that prioritize eco-friendly practices.  

Those fancy little seals you’ll see on some of our brands’ labels are formal certifications that prove their commitment to the environment. These brands use less water, natural pest control, and overall sustainable tools. Because—if we’re being honest—wine just tastes better when it's made by people who care about our planet.  

Below are just a few sustainable certifications you may see on bottles from YourWineStore. Each one requires a vigorous approval process that involves meeting every standard set by a reputable, unbiased third party. Let’s say, earning any of these is a big deal, which is why we have over 600 certified sustainable wines available for purchase.  

Cabernet Sauvignon

California Certified Sustainable:

This cert is all about wineries doing good stuff like conserving water, using natural ways to deter pests, and treating their workers right. Overseen by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CCSW), this world-renowned program takes a triple-bottom-line approach to sustainability with over 250 best practices in our vineyards, wineries, and communities. It's a win-win (or should we say win-wine?) for both the environment and the awesome people who help produce your favorite bottles.

Salmon-Safe:

What happens in the vineyard doesn’t stay in the vineyard—it affects the whole ecosystem surrounding the vines, including salmon (and their little fishy families). This is a cert that shows wineries believe everything is connected. To earn it, they’ve proven they have prevented water runoff from the vineyards, have better water quality, and protect native fishery habitats and biodiversity. Because everything is connected, that means their local communities also benefit from their practices. 

Sustainability In Practice (SIP):

This program created in California’s Central Coast wine region centers on the "3 P's": People, Planet, and Prosperity. SIP Certified wines meet stringent criteria for social responsibility, water conservation, pest management, energy efficiency, and more. SIP certification represents a company's commitment to both environmental stewardship and the well-being of its team. 

LIVE Certified Sustainable:

LIVE is a nonprofit organization that awards a third-party certification to wineries in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington, and Idaho) that meet their standards for sustainable winegrowing. Established in 1999, LIVE's certification program relies on the latest research and internationally recognized practices to determine if a winery’s production is environmentally and socially responsible. Fun fact: WillaKenzie Estate was the first winery to be certified under LIVE.   

Certified California Organic Farmers (CCOF):

This nonprofit kicked off in California 50 years ago and sticks to the organic rules set by the USDA National Organic Program, which started in 2002 thanks to the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. These rules cover everything from soil quality and how animals are raised to managing pests and weeds. Wines with this stamp of approval come from grapes grown by farmers who are all about boosting and protecting the environment for the next generation.

Sistema di Qualità Nazionale di Produzione Integrata (SQNPI):

Italy's SQNPI certification program isn't just a quality stamp for wines – it's a symbol of sustainable viticulture. These wineries adhere to a strict set of guidelines that promote eco-friendly practices throughout the winemaking process, including water management, soil health, and waste reduction. Additionally, SQNPI ensures traceability from grape to bottle, guaranteeing the origin and high quality of the final product. 

The Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ):

Established back in 1995, getting SWNZ certified means passing yearly check-ups that really dig into how sustainable the vineyard and winery operations are. They look at how they manage their soil, use water, cut down on waste, and save energy. It's all about making wine in a way that's good for our planet. The goal is to keep New Zealand sustainable for future generations

So Much More Than Certifications 

It’s important to note that just because a brand doesn’t have a certificate doesn’t mean they aren’t sustainably focused. These certificates are just a formal way for wineries to say, “Hey, look at us, we’re sustainable!” But here at YourWineStore, we’ve rolled up our sleeves and have done our due diligence to make sure every brand we feature is doing their part for the planet. So go ahead and enjoy your sustainable sips without the guilt. You can trust the teams behind these brands are really walking the talk because they truly believe that taking care of our planet today will bring about a better tomorrow.