Look for the Sustainable Winegrowing Trustmark

April 25, 2024– Spring is truly a season of regeneration. The vineyard comes back to life after winter dormancy, tourists arrive to enjoy the sunshine and longer days, and wines from the previous fall’s harvest start trickling out. You’ll notice a cool new addition to Silver Thread newly released wines this year: the New York Sustainable Winegrowing Trustmark.

Silver Thread’s co-owners Paul and Shannon Brock were both on the committee that developed the Sustainable Winegrowing program for New York. They are excited to be one of the first certified farms, and expect the certification will lead to more vineyards using best practices going forward. “We value the collaborative approach of this program, which was developed in consultation with experts at Cornell and growers across New York State,” said Paul Brock, co-owner and winemaker. “Even though we would have qualified for the certification without making any changes to our practices, the guidelines have pushed us to do even more. For example, my son and I built a dozen bird houses last year to place around our property to encourage more biodiversity on the farm.”

How Certification Works

Vineyards earn the certification after undergoing a rigorous third-party inspection of their farming and business practices. Farms must earn a minimum score in the VineBalance workbook, which includes best practices for minimizing environmental impact and protecting workers. If farms receive less than the highest possible score on an item, they must show improvement in the next year to maintain certification. Standards in the VineBalance workbook are reevaluated annually to ensure they remain up to date.

Nine Objectives of the Program

Here is a list of the nine objectives in the VineBalance workbook, which each have several recommended practices:

  1. To promote the use of practices that reduce reliance on off-farm inputs. 
  2. To build, regenerate, and conserve healthy soils for future generations. 
  3. To protect surrounding reservoirs and waterways from pollution. 
  4. To improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 
  5. To conserve natural resources, reduce waste streams, and recycle. 
  6. To encourage healthy ecosystems, biodiversity, and wildlife habitat. 
  7. To increase climate resiliency and promote climate-smart farming. 
  8. To provide education and pathways for continuous improvement. 
  9. To foster a socially equitable and economically viable industry. 

Silver Thread is excited that both of our grower-partners, Doyle Vineyard Management Caywood (a.k.a. Doyle Fournier Vineyard) and Vineyard View Winery/Crooked Vines (a.k.a. Gridley Bluff Point Vineyard) are Certified Sustainable through this program. Therefore, every bottle of Silver Thread wine will now carry the Sustainable Winegrowing Trustmark.

Back labels on wine bottles featuring trustmark

To learn more about the program, visit https://newyorkwines.org/new-york-sustainable-winegrowing/ 

To hear a 60-minute podcast discussing the program that includes Silver Thread’s Paul Brock, visit https://www.wxxinews.org/show/connections/2023-08-04/how-a-new-state-program-aims-to-make-winegrowing-sustainable