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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.

Mar 25, 2024

Beyond doing good by the environment and your community, your sustainably certified wine grapes differentiate your brand in today’s oversaturated wine market.

But do you know how much of a value-driver your certification really is?

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.

In this Marketing Tip, get insight into the significance of sustainably grown grapes in the larger market from Gregg Hibbits, who has nearly 30 years of experience selling wine grapes.

Over this course of his career, he has experienced a shift in what his grape-buying clients are looking for. Keep reading for highlights from his interview on Episode #83 of the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast.

Buyers with Different Interests

Each client, Hibbits says, has different interests.

  • Many winemakers have deep and long-standing interests in sustainability because they believe in its mission: creating high-quality products through protecting, conserving, and regenerating resources so people of today and the future can prosper. They seek out certified sustainable grapes that align with their values.
  • Other buyers believe that sustainability is the direction the industry is going. They feel a push from the market and the trade to produce wine from sustainably farmed grapes, so it is part of their purchasing criteria when they source fruit.
  • Furthermore, sustainability is a value-driver for investors. Businesses want to report back to their investors that the product they are supporting is both of high-quality and reaches exceptional levels in environmental and social health.

But he notes a change in his clients over his career.

Higher Demands, Higher Premiums

Hibbits tells Sustainable Winegrowing, “There’s absolutely no question that people are more demanding on every front now.”

Buyers are demanding sustainability. Now, the topic comes up early in conversations with buyers – something, Hibbits says, was not the case 15 years ago.

But he has been able to fulfill those demands, and has been rewarded in the form of premiums.

“Sometimes it’s as simple as being able to sell your grapes when nobody else can – that’s a premium. And then sometimes when the market is in a different place, the premium is a true premium: I can get $200 - $300 a ton more for my sustainably certified or organic grapes.”

And this is something we hear from SIP Certified growers time and time again:

John Niven, Cadre Wines

“Buyers are looking for wines that have responsible farming practices, are aware of environmental issues, and, of course, are of high quality.

The SIP Certified program has added value to our wines allowing us to demonstrate our ability to fulfill all of the desired criteria that buyers look for.”

Austin Hope, Hope Family Wines

“More and more, we’re being asked about our sustainability efforts in the vineyard and winery.

Being SIP Certified is an easy way for us to quantify our practices and tell the consumer and trade about how we run our operation in a way that’s better for the land, the wine and the community”.

Adam LaZarre, Broadside Wine

“For us, having our wines SIP Certified is easily the best way to let our entire audience know we are sincere about doing the right thing for the health of our vineyards, customers, and employees...

I know for a fact that this is a HUGE selling point for our wines.”

If your Grapes are SIP Certified…

… it’s easier now than ever to put the SIP Certified logo on your wine bottles.

Thanks to the latest SIP Certified database feature, you can create a wine application in just a few minutes.

Say goodbye to the days of documents and information getting lost in months-old email threads, and instead, upload everything straight to your application.

Learn how to Apply for SIP Certified Wine today!


We are here to help you tell your customers how your brand protects natural and human resources with the Sustainable Story program.

This simple yet powerful free tool helps you tell your own personal sustainable message. And it just got better with a new online course.  Go to the show notes, click the link titled Tell Your Sustainable Story to sign up, and start writing your Sustainable Story today!    

Until next time, this is Sustainable Winegrowing with the Vineyard Team.


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