Alexander Valley Vineyards of Healdsburg, California Wins Top Honors in BRIT’s 2018 International Sustainable Winegrowing Competition

January 14, 2018

E. & J. Gallo Winery receives special gold corporate-wide sustainable winegrowing award


Three additional wineries from Argentina and the U.S. receive medals for their outstanding ground-to-glass sustainability programs


FORT WORTH, Texas – The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT®) is pleased to announce the winners in its 2018 International Award of Excellence in Sustainable Winegrowing competition. The platinum medal goes to Alexander Valley Vineyards (AVV) of Healdsburg, California, based on the winery’s on-going sustainable programs that address the three elements of sustainability: environmental, economic, social – and the Vineyard’s wine taste.

AVV is one of an elite group of wineries recognized as a Bay Area Green Business. They became a member of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program in 2006 and achieved vineyard certification in 2014. AVV bottled their first wine produced from organic certified grapes in 2008, today the family organically farms over 30 acres and offers two wines from 100% California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) grapes. A second family vineyard will receive CCOF certification in June 2018. Other AVV  sustainable initiatives include solar arrays that supply about half of the winery’s power; cover crop plantings to minimize pesticide use and control erosion; drip irrigation for precise water management; 25,000 square feet of underground, naturally cooled caves that reduce the winery’s carbon footprint; and installation of variable speed drives on all winery equipment to decrease energy waste.

The awarded wine was AVV’s, 2014 Organic Cabernet Sauvignon, Single Vineyard, using certified organic grapes.

“Alexander Valley Vineyards’ strong list of sustainable programs and care in winemaking produced an unbeatable application,” said Ed Schneider, BRIT's president and director. “During the taste portion of the competition, our judges especially noted that the 100% organic varietal was perfectly balanced with fruit and spice to the taste and a testament to the Wetzel’s commitment to sustainable agriculture and family farming.”

AVV is a family-owned and operated winery located in the heart of Sonoma’s Alexander Valley, on the historic property originally settled in the 19th century by Cyrus Alexander, the valley’s namesake. Since 1975 the Wetzel Family has been producing an array of estate wines that reflect the unique character of the property.

“We are honored to receive the BRIT award and the recognition of the practices we have implemented over the decades” says Harry Wetzel. “As a family run operation, we all believe that it is our responsibility to make this an even better place for future generations.”

Additional BRIT sustainable awards went to:

Gold medals

  • E. & J. Gallo Winery, Modesto, California. Submitted 2015 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon. Gallo receives special recognition for its corporate-wide, multi-brand sustainability programs and for the organization’s industry leadership.
  • Bodega Catena Zapata, Mendoza, Argentina. Submitted 2014 Catena Malbec.

Silver medal

  • Franciscan Estates, St. Helena, California. Submitted 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Bronze medal

  • Peach Creek Vineyards, College Station, Texas. Submitted Sassy Lassy, semi-sweet Texas table wine made with Noble grapes.

Competition for BRIT’s 2018 international award began May, 2017, when wineries submitted applications documenting their sustainable programs relating to environmental, economic, and social aspects of grape growing, and wine production along with their wine samples.

When submitting for the competition, wineries provide a self-assessment of their organization's accomplishments in sustainable winegrowing, winemaking, and ecopreneural/social responsibility practices. They describe their organization's conservation efforts in the field and in operations: how waste is avoided, how it is reclaimed, and how the winery extends conservation efforts to its customers and community. They also are required to submit a bottle of wine for a tasting by the judging committee.

Because the BRIT award is the only international award of its kind, it is of primary interest to wineries which care deeply about the environment and are taking a leading role in their community/region/country by implementing sustainable practices. Sustainable winegrowing programs are by nature, ongoing, so a key part of each program is its continual improvement process.

As a nonprofit, international plant research and knowledge sharing organization, BRIT offers this award to help raise interest and awareness of the value plants bring to our lives and the need for biodiversity.

Presentation of the platinum award to Alexander Valley Vineyards will be made in Fort Worth on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 during BRIT’s Vine to Table dinner and auction fundraising event.

BRIT’s 2019 sustainable winegrowing competition begins May 1, 2018, with the competition’s Call for Entries news release and the 2019 application is posted on the BRIT website, The submission deadline is September 1, 2018.

Leave A Response

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Related Articles

BRIT Names 2016 Recipient of International Award of Excellence in Conservation

by Chris Chilton
Carter Smith, Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to receive BRIT’s conservation award FORT WORTH, Texas – Carter Smith, executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and BRIT’s 2016 recipient of the International Award of Excellence in Conservation, is passionate about the great outdoors. He’s championed the Children & Nature Network movement in Texas, and he’s been extremely active in the realms of private lands stewardship, invasive species issues, coastal conservation, and acquisition of new park land for state parks and wildlife management areas. As executive director of TPWD, a position he’s held since 2008, Smith is responsible for overseeing an agency of 3,100 professionals in 11 different divisions, including Wildlife, State Parks,...
Read More >

Texas Artist’s Exhibition Offers Rare Glimpse of Historic Native Texas Prairie

FORT WORTH, TEXAS, May 1, 2016 — The Nature of Things: Daphne Prairie , an exhibition of new paintings and drawings by Texas artist Deborah Paris, will give the Fort Worth public a rare opportunity to see depictions of the untouched and historic Daphne Prairie. The exhibition will pop-up September 10–October 20 at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT). An opening reception with hors d’oeuvres and libations will be held on Fall Gallery Night, Saturday, September 10, from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. A gallery talk by the artist will take place September 10 at 6:00 p.m. The show will include twenty-five oil paintings that reveal the open yet intimate space found in North Texas’ Daphne Prairie—one of the state’s largest remaining tallgrass prairies. The pieces range from large-scale landscape...
Read More >

BRIT Teams with Tarleton State University to Build Habitat Maps of 57 Central Texas Rare Plant Species

by Chris Chilton
TxDOT will use maps to find, protect rare plants along Texas highways FORT WORTH, Texas – The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT®), Tarleton State University, and the Texas Department of Transportation are teaming together to document rare plant species that may potentially exist within TxDOT rights-of-way in 23 counties in the Waco and Austin districts of Central Texas. Through a TxDOT grant, Tarleton and BRIT will research and build habitat maps for 57 of the 81 Edwards Plateau rare plant species. The work includes identifying, documenting, and mapping areas where these rare species most likely occur. TxDOT will use these maps to improve the department’s ability to protect the rare species, which grow along Texas highways. For several of these species, roadsides represent a sign...
Read More >

Yealands Family Wines of New Zealand Wins Top Honors in BRIT’s 2017 Sustainable Winegrowing Competition

by Chris Chilton
Seven Additional Wineries from France, Italy, Spain, Argentina and the U.S. Receive Medals for Their Outstanding Ground-to-Glass Sustainability Programs FORT WORTH, Texas – The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT®) is pleased to announce the winners in its 2017 International Award of Excellence in Sustainable Winegrowing competition. The platinum medal goes to Yealands Family Wines (Yealands) of Marlborough, New Zealand, based on the winery’s on-going programs that address the three elements of sustainability: environmental, economic, social – and of course, how well the wine itself tastes. Yealands’ achievements in sustainability include being the world’s first winery certified carboNZeroCertTM as well as operating New Zealand’s largest solar array: generating over 411 kilowatts o...
Read More >