Inspired by Earth Day coming up on April 22, the state of California has designated April 2012 as “Down to Earth Month,” encouraging everyone to embrace earth-friendly California wines made with sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices.

For over twenty years the Lodi American Viticultural Area has been a leader in earth-friendly practices; its crowning achievement being the formation of Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing: California’s first ever third party certified sustainable winegrowing program; first developed in 1992, and officially launched in 2005.

Dozens of Lodi’s major growers, farming over 21,000 acres of certified vineyards, now implement Lodi Rules, requiring demonstrable pro-active programs fostering biodiversity, soil and water health, community and employee well-being, and the meeting of economic needs of today without compromising the personal health and needs of future generations.

Lodi Rules first evolved out of a grassroots Integrated Pest Management program launched by the Lodi Winegrape Commission during its first year (1991/1992).  Through neighborhood grower meetings and the remarkable guidance and energy of the Lodi Winegrape Commission’s former Sustainable Winegrowing Director, Dr. Clifford Ohmart, 70 demonstration vineyards were initially utilized to develop the program; the concerns of which Ohmart summarized as “Three Es.” That is, being…

•    Environmentally Sound
•    Economically Viable
•    Socially Equitable

It is the two second goals, in fact, that immediately set Lodi Rules apart from other certification programs (such as California Certified Organic Farms and Demeter USA) concerned with sustainable or holistic farming: Lodi Rules focuses as much on the long term health of people and businesses as it does vineyards and the environment.  Like a three legged stool, one does not stand without the others.

In 2005 Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing was endorsed by Protected Harvest, a leading non-profit organization that certifies stringent standards of sustainable farming organizations.

For more information on Lodi Rules, visit Lodiwine.com.