It is a workbook a winegrape grower can use to:
- Identify their farming practices which are improving winegrape quality, environmental quality and benefiting their family, employees, and community
- Identify areas of concern on their farms related to winegrape quality, environmental quality and the well being of their family, employees and community
- Determine which of these areas they would like to improve upon
- Develop action plans to address these concerns
The workbook was drafted by Lodi Winegrape Commission staff, with the help and guidance of a 17 member committee of Lodi winegrape growers, viticultural and pest management consultants, University of California Cooperative Extension scientists and farm advisors, and a Wildlife Biologist. The workbook takes a holistic approach to winegrape growing, meaning that it considers everything that happens on the farm and in the vineyard, addressing 160 critical issues which are grouped into the following chapters:
- Ecosystem Management – issues related to understanding ecosystem processes, wildlife, and habitat management
- Vineyard Establishment and Replanting – issues related to planting a new vineyard or replacing an old one.
- Soil Management
- Water Management
- Pest Management
- Human Resources Management – issues dealing with employees, the grower’s family, and the community.
- Shop and Yard Management – issues dealing with managing the office, shop and equipment yard sustainably.
- Wine Quality and Customer Satisfaction – issues dealing with the buyer of the grower’s winegrapes as well as the winemaker.
How to Use the Workbook
Each workbook chapter consists of a series of worksheets, each containing one or more of the critical farming issues pertaining to the chapter topic area. Each issue is broken down into 4 categories that cover the range of farming practices, from the most sustainably (category 4), to the least sustainable (category 1). (Hyperlink to an example worksheet). For each issue, the person filling out the workbook reads the farming practices listed in each category and decides which one best describes the ones they use for that issue. A check mark is then made in the appropriate box (e.g. 1, 2, 3, or 4) on a summary evaluation sheet for that chapter. (Hyperlink to example evaluation sheet) Some workbook pages contain reference information that may help them decide what category is most appropriate to their vineyard(s). Once someone has gone through the entire workbook evaluating their vineyard, they then look at the summary evaluation sheets and use them to identify what issue or issues they would like to improve upon. An action plan is then developed to carry out this improvement. (Hyperlink to example action plan) Since category 1 indicates the least sustainable set of practices for an issue it is likely that issues where category 1 has been checked are ones that will be focused on in the action plan. Blank sheets are provided in the workbook growers can use to create their action plans. The sheets contain spaces to list what issue is of concern, what they are going to do to act on this concern, and when this action will begin. A great deal of reference information is provided in the workbook to help growers design and implement their action plans.
The Lodi Winegrower’s Workbook has not only had a big impact on how winegrapes are grown in the Lodi region but it has been used as a model for creating workbooks for the winegrape industries in the following states: California (Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Workbook); New York (Vine Balance); and Michigan (Grape*A*Syst).
Example Action Plan: