Wineries and Sustainability

Wineries and sustainability

EDITOR: Gabriel Froymovich, a wine industry financial adviser, cries “mendacious hyperbole” in response to winery critics (“Keeping the grape debate in perspective,” Close to home, Aug. 22).

Let’s look at some facts. Sustainability? According to him, “roughly one-third” of wineries are sustainable. That leaves 66 percent that are not. How is dumping nearly 2 million of the approximately 2.25 million pounds of chemicals into our air, land and water in a year (2012 analysis of county data) sustainable? How sustainable is the wine industry’s unregulated water grab in a drought?

Then there’s the fuzzy math he used to claim that wineries average “less than 12,000 cases annually.” Here are actual statistics from the county. Out of the 384 permits issued as of June 2014 (the most recent report I saw online) Gallo, Clos du Bois and Sonoma West Holdings top the list with 11.7 million cases (27 percent). In fact, 12 wineries (1 percent) were permitted for production of 1 million or more cases of wine, 70 percent of the total production capacity. The number of permits issued to those producing 12,000 or fewer cases per year (60 percent), accounted for just under 2 percent of production in the county. Now who’s lying?

 – Nancy Palandati, Guerneville