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Sustainable Winegrowing with Vineyard Team

Sustainable Winegrowing with the Vineyard Team brings you the latest in science and research for the wine industry. This on-the-go, sustainable farming educational resource provides in-depth technical information on topics like integrated pest management, fruit quality, water conservation, and nutrient management from experts like Dr. Mark Fuchs of Cornell University, Dr. Michelle Moyer of Washington State University, Cooperative Extension Specialists, veteran growers, and more. Our podcasts will help you make smarter, sustainable vineyard management decisions to increase efficiency, conserve resources, and maximize fruit quality.

Aug 22, 2022

The warm summer months attract tourists and locals alike to the beautiful wineries and tasting rooms of popular winegrowing regions. With this predictable increase in consumer traffic in mind, it's a good idea to educate your consumer-facing staff about your sustainable practices so they are prepared to share your brand's values with new and returning patrons while serving up your latest creations.

Welcome to Marketing Tip Monday with SIP Certified. We know customers are looking for wines labeled as sustainable. While our longer-form episodes help you learn about the latest science and research for the wine industry, these twice-monthly micro podcasts will help you share your dedication to sustainable winegrowing so you can show your customers that you share their values. Today we bring your tools to teach your team about sustainability.

Why talk about sustainability?

Training your staff to talk about your brand's value of sustainability is just as important as training them to talk about your wine selection. Consumers today are becoming more interested in companies and products that protect the health of the planet and the people who inhabit it, and are even willing to pay more for a product that has a certification to back up these claims! It's clear that sustainability sells, and plain and simple, you can't sell something you know nothing about.

Having staff that is well educated and prepared to answer your customers' questions will also help to uphold your brand's good reputation. Customer service can make or break a winetasting experience. If your customer-facing staff is educated and prepared to engage in conversation with your customers, there is a greater chance of garnering positive reviews, earning return customers, and attracting new ones through word-of-mouth.

Let's go over a few good topics for your consumer-facing staff to become familiar with in order to increase their confidence in talking about your brand's sustainability efforts.

Get comfortable with the sustainability (SIP) Buzzwords

If you've been around for a while, you're probably already familiar with our 6 SIP Buzzwords for Your Consumer-Facing Staff. In case you haven't or if you're new to the world of SIP Certified, here's a recap:

  1. The 3 P's

People: practices protecting human resources and employee well-being

Planet: stewardship of natural resources and the environment

Prosperity: a solid business plan with long-term goals, and dedication to ensuring future generations are protected through all business practices

  1. Always Evolving

SIP Certified standards and members' business practices improve as new science, technology, and research becomes available

  1. Sound Business Practices

The company employs ethical practices that treat employees and the community with care and respect

  1. Continuing Education

Company staff strive to stay up to date with the latest laws and regulations, as well as science, technology, and research

  1. Integrated Pest Management

Using beneficial insects, raptors, and plant-enriching cover crops to mitigate pests and other harmful organisms

  1. Wildlife Corridors

Providing safe passage for wildlife through vineyards in order to not compromise their natural habitat

Print the Infographic below to post in your staff area, or send it directly to your customer-facing staff so they can familiarize themselves with the terms!

Talk about your specific sustainability practices

When consumers see evidence of sustainable practices such as solar panels, owl boxes, grazing animals, and cover crops, they may ask their tasting room attendant what these are all about. We encourage you to create educational material for your staff that is specific to your brand and your practices so they are prepared to give accurate and descriptive explanations.

Stay tuned for our upcoming Marketing Tip where we'll give examples of how other SIP Certified brands educate their staff!

SIP Certified or sustainability vs Organic

One of the most common questions we get when we visit tasting rooms for a training is "what is the difference between SIP Certified and Organic?" Simply put, organic certification addresses farming methods. According to, these include "soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives," as well as the prohibition of "artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors."

SIP Certified takes a holistic approach to winegrowing. In addition to addressing soil conservation, habitat preservation, integrated pest management, and water quality, brands that are SIP Certified sustainable extend their practices to other realms of business including social equity, water conservation, and quality, energy conservation and efficiency, pollution and waste, and business management, to name a few. You will find a number of SIP Certified vineyards that are also certified Organic or incorporate organic farming methods. (The complete 2022 SIP Certified Standards can be read here.)

The Owl Postcard is a great visual representation for comparing SIP Certified, Organic, and Biodynamics. Visit the shop to order a stack for your tasting room staff to use while answering this common question! All POS materials are included in your SIP Certified membership.

Sustainability in Action Training Events

Want to learn how to talk about sustainability with your customers? If you are on California’s Central Coast we have three events coming up this fall. Come to an upcoming training.

Riverbench Vineyard
Aug. 17 | 9:30 am - 10:30 am

McIntyre Vineyards
Sept. 7 | 9:00 am - 10:00 am

Niner Wine Estates
Sept. 21 | 9:30 am - 10:30 am

Check out the show notes for links to this article, more posts filled with the latest social media tips to grow your following, and to sign up for our biweekly Marketing Tips newsletter. Until next time, this is Sustainable Winegrowing with the Vineyard Team.


Talking SIP Infographics: