Morro Bay states very clearly that this selection is “Lodi Rules Certified” as being produced using sustainable practices. With so much emphasis on the label touting this certification, I wanted to know more.
Ten years ago the Lodi Winegrape Commission established their “Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing Certification Program.” Their website describes the program like this.
The Lodi Rules has two key components. First, the Lodi Rules promotes winegrape grower adoption of 101 sustainability practices, which we term “standards”. The standards were collaboratively developed by a team of Lodi winegrape growers and viticulture professionals, and were accredited by Protected Harvest in 2005. The Lodi Rules standards are the backbone of the program, and are organized into six chapters: 1) business management, 2) human resource management, 3) ecosystem management, 4) soil management, 5) water management, and 6) pest management. The standards meet three criteria: first, they are measurable; second, they address at least one of the three aspects of sustainability (environmental health, social equity, and economic viability); and third, they are economically feasible to implement. We believe that the Lodi Rules standards are the most thoroughly and rigorously vetted set of sustainability practices in California’s viticulture industry. All standards have been peer reviewed by third-party scientists, members of the academic community, and environmental organizations. Certified growers are required to implement a minimum of standards.
The second key component of the Lodi Rules is the Pesticide Environmental Assessment System (PEAS), which is unique to the Lodi Rules. PEAS is a model used to quantify the environmental and human impact of all pesticides applied in a vineyard. The PEAS model generates an Environmental Impact Unit (EIU) for each pesticide, which is based on the pesticide’s impact on 1) acute risk to farm workers, 2) dietary risks from acute and chronic exposure to people who consume the product, 3) acute risks to small aquatic invertebrates, 4) acute risk to birds, and 5) acute risk to bees and pests’ natural enemies. Pesticide use by Lodi Rules certified growers must fall below a specified level of PEAS impact units.
There’s more – quite a bit more, actually. You can go to lodigrowers.com for additional info on the Lodi Rules. One can see, though, that this is a serious endeavor to address sustainability on many levels. I can totally understand why Morro Bay would highlight their certification on the label. So, now back to the wine.
Winemaker: Morro Bay
Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon White Oak Estates
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Price: $10.99 at Whole Foods
Notes: This Cab was so dark it was almost opaque. On the nose I smelled mostly balsamic vinegar. There were touches of dark fruit and oak notes, but my schnoz thought the bouquet smelled mostly like balsamic vinegar. It was medium-bodied with good acidity and medium tannins. Alcohol was at 13.9%. Don’t let my schnoz scare you away, though. This wine had not turned. Flavors I detected were a fruit foundation of cherry with pepper, ash, and eucalyptus notes along with a hint of raisins.