Michigan Winery Farms the First SIP Certified Vineyard Outside of California
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Michigan Winery Farms the First SIP Certified Vineyard Outside of California

August 30, 2017

WaterFire Vineyards of Michigan is the first out-of-state vineyard to achieve SIP Certified

August 30, 2017

Chantal Lefebvre of WaterFire Vineyards, MI

Atascadero, Calif., WaterFire Vineyards near Torch Lake, Michigan becomes the first vineyard outside of California to achieve certification from Sustainability in Practice (SIP) Certified. SIP Certified authenticates sustainability practices for vineyards and wineries through a thoughtful and rigorous third-party program. The most in-depth sustainability program available for vineyards, SIP Certified is just a few months shy of celebrating 10 years and is thrilled to have certified a vineyard outside of California.

Though there are a variety of sustainability options available to vineyard growers, SIP Certified is the most rigorous program of its kind. To achieve SIP Certified for a vineyard, growers must farm in a way that protects both natural and human resources. Their third-party evaluation process assesses a variety of items that go beyond organics to include (but not limited to) biodiversity and habitat, farm management, soil conservation, integrated pest management along with water conservation and quality, energy conservation, air quality, fruit quality, continuing education and social and community responsibility. Visit the SIP Certified website to learn more.

“WaterFire Winery in Michigan was on the hunt for a certification program that would verify their efforts to both their peers and consumers,” notes Beth Vukmanic Lopez, SIP Certified Manager. “We were thrilled to work with them to ensure their practices were in-line with the Standards set into practice by SIP Certified.”

Launched in 2008, SIP Certified is a sustainability program for vineyards and wineries throughout the United States. Today, with over 2.6 million SIP Certified wines shipped internationally wine drinkers have quite the selection of earth-friendly wines to choose from. By selecting wines with the SIP Certified seal, buyers are assured they are enjoying wines whose makers and growers have committed to standards that make sustainably the key ingredient in every bottle.

“Before launching WaterFire in 2008, I had over a decade of experience in environmental science collecting information and making observations on the different ways water gets polluted,” explains Chantal Lefebvre, WaterFire’s co-owner and manager. “Farming was and still is the number one culprit, so finding a sustainable way to farm to minimize pollution was a natural extension of who I was.  SIP Certified not only authenticates our experience but goes above and beyond what we were looking for here in Michigan to help us differentiate our wines from other wineries.”

By obtaining the SIP Certified vineyard seal, WaterFire will continue to undergo regular inspections to ensure their certification stay current with all SIP Certified standards. In addition, the winery will be able to share their achievement with their current and potential buyers through their own marketing communications, furthering the education and importance of sustainability.

About SIP Certified

Sustainability in Practice (SIP) Certified provides a way for vineyards and wineries to verify their attention to sustainability through a commitment to environmental stewardship, equitable treatment of employees, and economic viability. Developed by the Vineyard Team, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to sustainable winegrowing since 1994, this program represents one extension of the group’s many innovative programs. To learn more about SIP Certified, please visit the website www.sipcertified.org. For more information about the Vineyard Team, please visit www.vineyardteam.org.

About WaterFire

Established in 2008 by Chantal Lefebvre and Mike Newman, WaterFire was the first vineyard in Antrim County, Michigan, and now the first vineyard outside of California to achieve SIP Certified status. WaterFire crafts white wines from estate-grown fruit and focuses on varieties that are underrepresented in Michigan. Their wines follow sustainable growing standards aimed at building biodiversity and drawing out that distinct sense-of-place from their surrounding hills and lakes.  WaterFire’s wine tasting room, in Kewadin, MI, celebrated its grand opening in May 2017. To learn more, visit www.waterfirewine.com.

Editor’s Note— for additional information, photos or logos for either WaterFire or SIP Certified, please contact Faith Wells at faith@faithwellscommunications.com.