Office Hours Recording: Ch 8 & 13
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Office Hours Recording: Ch 8 & 13

posted: May 23, 2024

In this Office Hours webinar, we were joined by Lucas Pope, Director of Vineyard Operations at Coastal Vineyard Services to go over two SIP Certified chapters:

Chapter 8: Purchasing, Recycling, and Waste Reduction
Chapter 13: ​Business Management

Summary & Resources


Chapter 8

* Requirements

  • One of the main points of this chapter is to raise awareness of waste streams and minimize waste where possible.
  • As Lucas was going through Chapter 8, none of the Requirements or Management Enhancement struck him as incredibly difficult to do, especially compared to other chapters. He notes that a more thoughtful approach to waste management has become part of our home lives, so the transition to work and business feels more natural.
  • 8.1.2:  Do you recycle your used bird netting and/or drip hose?
    • It used to be easy to find a facility that recycles these plastics, but that has changed recently.
    • The ease of finding a facility varies from region to region.
  • 8.1.3: Did you work with your local waste management company to develop your recycling program?
    • Waste facilities are often times happy to work with you to streamline your waste/recycling collections.
    • Separate bins have become the standard, and bins for compostable waste have become more common.
      • Food and pumace waste can be composted and applied to the vineyard to enhance soil health.
  • 8.1.5: Do you train your workers and post signs on proper waste disposal in the language understood by your employee(s) at trash and recycling areas?
    • This is simple to do and impactful to your business.
    • Train your vineyard crew on proper disposal of batteries, oils, tires, pesticide containers, etc.
      • It used to be tricky to recycle used pesticide containers, but it has become more common today.
      • Many municipal waste facilities take them.
  • 8.1.6: What percent of sample bottles for tasting and laboratory analysis are washed and reused?
    • These can be reused in the lab and even the tasting room.
  • 8.1.11: Do you recycle or repurpose natural cork?
    • There are several uses for cork - it isn't recycled like other materials.
    • Work with a cork recycler. They can provide you with a separate collection vessle to use for your cork recycling.
  • 8.1.14: Are unusable barrels sold, donated, or for repurposed (chipping, furniture, planters, etc.)?
    • ​​​​​​​This is also becoming more common.
    • People often make and sell planters from their old barrels.
    • Lucas recently saw a winery who was selling segments of a used barrel to use for barbequing or fire-starting kits. It's a great outside-the-box idea to repurpose old barrels.
  • 8.1.15: Do workers use scrap paper for notes and double-sided printing to reduce paper use?
    • ​​​​​​​An easy transition for wineries looking to score more Management Enhancement points.
  • *8.2.1: You must perform an annual waste audit.
    • ​​​​​​​Lucas points out that a lot of the SIP Certified Standards are written to help raise awareness of what's going on at your business so you can take an action and be more sustainable. This question is a great example of that.
    • An annual waste audit can be time-intensive, but it can help you:
      • Make decisions on how to train workers.
      • Know which programs to implement to reduce your footprint -- some may not cost anything, they'll just need time to figure out.
    • The dividens pay off when you perform an anual waste audit and analyze your waste streams.
  • 8.3.4: Is all packaging used for shipping made from recycled material (no Styrofoam)?
    • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Styrofoam is often only used for unusually sized bottles. Usually, pulp-shippers are used.
    • In this way, the industry as a whole is shifting to greater sustainability.
  • 8.2.7: Are at least 75% of break room cups, plates, and utensils washable?
    • This doesn't take much extra effort and significantly cuts down on waste stream.
    • ​​​​​​​Lucas visited Niner Wine Estates for lunch with their staff and noticed that all of the dishes in the break room were like the ones you'd find at home. They didn't use plastic utensils or paper dishes. There is a dishwasher in their break room for the staff dishes!
  • 8.3.3: Do you use lightweight glass (less than 440 grams) to cut down on weight of freight and carbon footprint?
    • There has been a transition recently to lighter-weight bottles due to lessened environmental footprint and greater cost-savings for the producer.
    • ​​​​​​​Lucas points out that people commonly associate heavier bottles with higher-quality wines. He says that switching to lighter bottles can be a difficult transition for the industry, but makes a significant difference in a wine producer's carbon footprint from:
      • Bottle production.
      • Shipping.
      • Recycling material.
  • 8.3.5: Is all packaging used for shipping the minimum size allowable, while still conforming to the carrier’s requirements?
    • Using the minimum sized box can drastically cut shipping costs.
    • Smaller boxes = less material = less waste.
  • 8.3.7: Have you implemented a paperless policy to replace traditional work orders and picking tickets?
    • ​​​​​​​This is a natural transition in our modern world, but in agriculture, many processes are still carried out with paper records.
    • Lucas and the crew at Costal Vineyard Services use both:
      • Paper copies of equipment checklists are used by people who aren't computer literate.
      • They are working with IntelliCulture to transition to a QR-code system. This allows people to use their phone to pull up and complete checklists, and makes them easily accessible by others on the team.


Chapter 13


  • As well as the societal and environmental components of a business, sustainability addresses economics. It is a truly holistic approach.
  • These Chapter 13 questions are a great operating guide to help a company with the economic side of being in business.
  • *13.1.1: You must have an annual or multi-year budget.
    • ​​​​​​​Lucas manages vineyards. The most common questions he gets pertain to budgets.
    • He believes the budget should be the basis for all businesses.
    • It's important to keep the budget up to date, and ensure annual costs and the factors that effect them are factored in.
      • Labor, fuel, etc vary from year to year.
    • A budget can act as a guideline.
    • It is crucial to constantly update it.
  • *13.1.3: You must have a sales and marketing plan.
    • This is important because if production volume isn't based on projected sales, success is threatened. It's not the case for the vast majority of wineries to clear out their production inventory.
    • ​​​​​​​A five-year plan is ideal.
  • *13.1.4: You must maintain legible winery records as required by law (e.g. analysis, work completed, additions, wine tracking by lot and bottling).
    • ​​​​​​​This is required by law.
  • *13.1.5: You must have an inventory management system for dry goods and additives, bulk wine, and case wine.
    • ​​​​​​​This is also required by law.
  • 13.1.6: Do you have a system in place to track, review, and compare your costs over time?; 13.1.7: Do you review your budget to actual on a monthly basis?; & 13.1.8: Do you meet with a financial or business advisor annually?
    • ​​​​​​​For solo operators, it could be wise to bring on a financial planner or business advisor, and check in monthly. That way, you can plan for the rest of the year or the upcoming year to be sure you're on target to be successful.
  • 13.1.9: Do you have a succession plan in place?
    • ​​​​​​​A lot of people don't want to think about this, but it's vital for the business's long-term success.
    • This helps you to be prepared if circumstances change and you need to shift directions.
    • A succession plan should be updated every couple of years as goals and financial situations change.
  • 13.1.10: Do you have a plan in place to maintain business continuity in event of a disaster or IT failure?
    • ​​​​​​​A plan like this offers you a guideline in the case of a disaster. Rather than scrambling to figure it out, this plan will give you something to look to for solutions.
    • Like the ethos of the entire Standards, this question is about looking at your whole process and implementating best practices.
  • 13.1.12: Do you have long term redevelopment plan for your vineyard?
    • ​​​​​​​The new standard for vineyard life is 25 years. Every 5 years, you should redevelop ~20% of your vineyard.
      • This helps to ensure you are still in production during these redevelopment phases.