PG: What does it take to be Certified California Sustainable?
SL: To be certified, a third-party auditor looks at your practices to avoid greenwashing. Certification comes in two different areas—you can get your vineyard, winery, or both certified for your sustainable business practices. The next step up is to get the individual product certification; on the bottle you have a seal which verifies that 85% of the grapes are certified sustainable, 100% of the wine was made in a certified California sustainable winery, and 100% of the fruit is from California.
Fewer than 5% of wines on the market today qualify for this certification. You know that if you are picking J. Lohr, you are going with a leader in the industry for sustainability.
PG: Why is this important to supermarket operators and consumers?
SL: Having the certification is a stamp that someone has verified the brand is doing what it says. This helps retailers serve consumers who are looking to support a wine that complements their desire to take care of people and the environment.
For consumers, it is becoming ever more important; people are looking to support products that are better for you, and at the same time doing the right thing for the environment.
PG: How can you help retailers build a department to help consumers find sustainable wines?
SL: Having a dedicated sustainable section is a good step to show that this is something you care about. Most grocery stores don’t have one yet but some are starting to do so. Those grocers who are showing that support will get more traffic in their stores.
Education—we have 45 fulltime salespeople around the country who can provide training to grocery store wine stewards or management as to why sustainability is important and how that knowledge can lead to higher basket rings.
We’d also love to come into your stores and do tastings of our wines for your customers to help educate them directly.
There are so many great wines available to the consumer. It helps to have something to narrow the focus—having great tasting wines, at a reasonable price that are doing good for the community and planet—well, if you get all three aligned—you are golden