SUSTAINABLE WINEGROWING ONTARIO CERTIFIED
Cultivate awareness, commitment, and leadership in sustainable winegrowing practices in Ontario.
By 2030 all of Ontario’s VQA wineries and vineyards will be Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario Certified.
SUSTAINABLE WINEGROWING ONTARIO CERTIFIED BACKGROUND
In 2007, the Ontario Craft Wineries (OCW) and Grape Growers of Ontario (GGO) worked in partnership to create the Sustainable Winemaking Ontario: An Environmental Charter for the Wine Industry and the Ontario Viticulture Sustainability Certification Program. These proactive programs were developed for wineries and vineyards to provide information on environmental requirements and identify new sustainable opportunities while complying with existing government regulations. In 2017, SWO Certified standards became an accredited certification program audited by independent third-party auditors, thus providing further validity to the sustainability efforts from the industry. In 2021, the OCW and GGO merged the two programs to create one unified program – Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario (SWO) Certified. This program is built around the three core pillars of sustainability – Environment, Economy and Community. Practices within these pillars reflect how SWO Certified wineries and growers are invested in respecting our natural resources, building sustainable businesses and committed to social responsibility. Evolving SWO Certified to include both winery and vineyard certification ensures that the complete grape to glass cycle is sustainable. Look for the Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario Certified logo on your favourite Ontario VQA wine bottle starting with the 2021 vintage.
SWO CERTIFICATION PROCESS
Many Ontario winemakers and grape growers choose to take their environmentally-friendly practices one step further by participating in the voluntary Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario Certified program. To earn certification, wineries and vineyards are third-party audited annually to ensure that they are adhering to environmentally sustainable practices in their winemaking and grape growing operations.
Wineries and vineyards are third-party audited on a three-year cycle. Year one, auditors conduct an on-site audit with winery and vineyard representatives. Years two and three, auditors conduct an online audit to review changes that have been made and ensure previous recommendations have been implemented.