Click here for the presentation:
AIC graduate student researcher, Alicia Hoepfner, presented at the 3rd annual Sustainable Winegrowing Workshop for Agricultural Professionals on June 16th, 2017, at UC Davis. In a year-long project, the AIC worked with the Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers to evaluate the costs associated with increasing in sustainability. Daniel A. Sumner, Hyunok Lee, and Donald Stewart worked on the project starting in 2016, and Alicia Hoepfner reported and presented the findings at the Workshop. The cost evaluation by the AIC is part of a much larger project developing economic tools to assess costs and benefits for sustainability. Here is a link to the Economic Tools to Assess Costs & Benefits of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices, developed by many partners, including the AIC, in conjunction with the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program.
Link to the economic tools webpage: http://www.sustainablewinegrowing.org/economic-tools.php
Process of making the presentation
After finishing the draft of the paper, we sat down and discussed the costs that were associated with different criteria in the workbook. We asked ourselves, what costs span across the different criteria in the workbook? The costs that were repeated as well as consequential included hired farm labor, cost of operator time, fixed cost for equipment, and consultants.
We spoke to owner-operated Sonoma grape growers who felt that these cost categories caused financial constraints when trying to improving sustainability according to the workbook. Generally, the growers thought sustainability category 2 was almost universally the set of standard practices, and many of them adopted up to sustainability category 3 in some criteria. In moving to category 4, the growers felt that required investments in capital or equipment did not improve outcomes.
Not all grower costs have a monetary amount. Many costs were associated with owner-operator scarce time, thus we were unable to attribute dollar costs to all criteria. In conclusion, cost of both time and money prevented Sonoma grape growers from operating at sustainability category 4. The cost of sustainability for the growers in Sonoma is weighed in both time and money, and is very dependent on elements such as location, climate, soil, and vineyard landscape.