Applicants can choose to certify their winery by implementing the rules covered in the Standards. Current participants should visit our Program Announcements for timely information. Following is an overview of the SIP Certified Winery process.
Overview and Critical Deadlines
The SIP Certified cycle is December 1 through November 30.
New Applications – Due December 1
Applications submitted after December 1 will be handled on a case by case basis. Complete and submit the following (from the Information Package) to 5915 El Camino Real, Atascadero, CA 93422:
- Winery Application
- Property map marked with acres
- List of vineyard blocks, varieties, and acres
- One time application fee ($500 for members, $1,000 for non-members)
- Mutual Confidentiality, Non-Disclosure, and Non-Circumvention Agreement
- Certification Agreement
- Certification Fee Worksheet
Renewal Applications – Due December 1
Currently certified wineries complete and submit the renewal application (from the Information Package) to 5915 El Camino Real, Atascadero, CA 93422.
Documentation – December 1 – November 30
Winery certification is completed in a staff provided binder.
In order to qualify for certification, California applicants must process wines in a way that protects both natural and human resources. SIP Certified winemaking practices, called the Standards, are based on a 1,000 point scale and questions are made up of Requirements and Management Enhancements (ME). Requirements are practices which must be completed. Management Enhancements are assigned various point values and are practices that build on the Requirements.
In total, the applicant needs at least 75% of the total available points from Requirements and Management Enhancements to be eligible for certification. All documentation must be present at the time of inspection.
Inspections – June 1 – July 15
Applicants receive various combinations of documentation audits, interviews, and onsite inspections depending on their inspection Cycle, 1, 2 or 3. Applicants should select an accredited inspector in May, complete documentation in their binder and complete onsite inspections (where applicable) between June 1 and July 15.
Applicants are notified of their inspection type by program staff.
- Full: Complete entire Standards plus onsite inspection.
- Documentation: Complete all Standards marked with “D”.
- Documentation & Onsite/Impromptu: Complete all Standards marked with “D” and “D+O” plus onsite inspection.
*Note: Applicants in Cycle 2 or 3 with a Documentation inspection that have not received a Documentation & Onsite OR Impromptu inspection in the past 6 years, are eligible for an Impromptu inspection.
Eligibility and Certification
Inspection reports are blinded and then reviewed by the Certification Advisory Committee (CAC) in August to determine eligibility. Staff communicates eligibility status to applicants in August-September. Final certification is granted upon the submission of the Certification Agreement (new applicants) and payment of the certification fees.
- Application (one time): $500 Vineyard Team members / $1,000 non Vineyard Team members
- Inspector: Estimated at $100 – $175/hour
- Paid directly to inspector
- Estimate length of inspection
- New applicant Cycle 1 documentation and onsite inspections will require 8 – 15 hours
- Cycle 1 inspections (for non-new applicants) will require 4 – 6 hours
- Cycle 2 and 3 documentation inspections require 1 – 3 hours
- Cycle 2 and 3 onsite inspections require 2 – 4 hours
- Cycle 2 and 3 impromptu onsite inspections require 2 – 4 hours
- Licensing (per total capacity – tanks and barrels):
- An owner with SIP Certified vineyard(s) receives a 25% percent discount on winery certification fees.
|0 – 19,999||$0.050|
|20,000 – 39,999||$0.045|
|40,000 – 124,999||$0.040|
|125,000 – 199,999||$0.035|
|200,000 – 499,999||$0.030|
|500,000 – 999,999||$0.025|
|1,000,000 – 2,999,999||$0.015|
|3,000,000 or more||$0.010|
25% discount for applicants with a certified vineyard