What is LODI RULES?

LODI RULES for Sustainable Winegrowing is California’s original sustainable viticulture program. This program truly began from the ground up, with grape growers deciding it was important for the future of the Lodi region. Our certification process is rigorous, based on science, voluntary, and third-party accredited and audited. LODI RULES certified growers make up an innovative community with a history and commitment to farming quality winegrapes through the implementation of viticulture practices that balance environmental, social, and economic goals. LODI RULES is designed to communicate their commitment to sustainable agriculture to wineries and the general public.

Three LODI RULES Communications Kits are now available:
Introduction to LODI RULES  |  LODI RULES – A Deeper Dive
LODI RULES for Researchers

LODI RULES has two key components. First, LODI RULES promotes winegrape grower adoption of over 150 sustainability practices, which are called “Standards”. The Standards were collaboratively developed by a team of Lodi winegrape growers, viticulture professionals, and scientists, and were first accredited by Protected Harvest in 2005. The LODI RULES Standards are the backbone of the program, and are organized into six Chapters: 1) Business Management, 2) Human Resources Management, 3) Ecosystem Management, 4) Soil Management, 5) Water Management, and 6) Pest Management. Each Standard meets four criteria: first, it is measurable; second, it addresses at least one of the three aspects of sustainability (environmental health, social equity, and economic viability); third, it is economically feasible to implement; and fourth, it isbased in science and not a trend. The LODI RULES Standards are the most thoroughly and rigorously vetted set of sustainability practices in California’s viticulture industry. All Standards have been peer-reviewed by world-renowned scientists, members of the academic community, and environmental organizations.

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“When you drink a glass of wine made from LODI RULES certified grapes, you are supporting a farmer, a vintner, and an entire agricultural community that embraces their responsibility to care for the environment and their neighbors.”

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The second key component of LODI RULES is a pesticide risk model, called PEAS 2.0, used to quantify the total environmental and human impact of plant protectants applied to LODI RULES vineyards annually. The PEAS 2.0 risk tool generates numeric scores for a total of 14 risk indices across the following categories:

• Risks to workers and consumers
• Acute risks to aquatic invertebrates, algae and fish
• Risks to earthworms
• Acute risks to small mammals
• Acute and reproductive risks to birds
• Risks to bees and beneficial insects (pest natural enemies)

A vineyard qualifies for certification if it meets several criteria. First, growers accumulate points through implementing sustainability practices, and must accumulate at least 50% of the total points available in each of the six chapters. Growers must also accumulate at least 70% of the total points available across all chapters. Implementation of some LODI RULES Standards is mandatory. “Fail Chapter” Standards represent practices that the Lodi Winegrape Commission, backed by Protected Harvest, believe are imperative for sustainability. A vineyard will not qualify for certification if it fails any chapter. Finally, growers must also score below a maximum threshold of pesticide risk. Winegrapes are certified by vineyard block on an annual basis, which means that the harvest from a particular vintage becomes certified. An independent auditor visits selected vineyards every year to ensure compliance. For the 2022 certification year, we are happy to report that 1,276 vineyard blocks were certified through the LODI RULES program!

The current, accredited, Fourth Edition Standards are available for download HERE.

“LODI RULES is a business plan – not just for sustainability but for your whole farming operation. You can easily see where you shine and where you can make improvements to be more successful.”

– Monica Bianchi, Cal Poly Ag Business Graduate, Bianchi Agricultural Consulting

The LODI RULES program has grown vigorously since its establishment in 2005. As of 2021, over 64,000 winegrape acres are “Certified Green” in California. Within the Lodi AVA, 30,680 acres are certified sustainable and over 33,000 acres are certified in other regions throughout California – representing 13 different California Crush Districts, in Washington, and in Israel. Read more about our historical international certification HERE.

LODI RULES is a partnership between the Lodi Winegrape Commission and Protected Harvest. The Commission created the program and provides outreach and support services to LODI RULES growers, actively promoting the program to the winegrape industry and the general public. The Commission’s LODI RULES Committee, which is made up of local growers and viticulture professionals, steers the program’s evolution along with LODI RULES Sustainable Winegrowing Director Dr. Stephanie Bolton. Protected Harvest, an independent organization specializing in quantifiable sustainability certification, accredits the LODI RULES Standards and administers the certification process. Protected Harvest is a nonprofit organization with a Board of leading environmental NGOs, scientists, and practitioners.

For more information or to apply as a new grower and join a truly REMARKABLE, PROGRESSIVE community of committed growers, viticultural advisors, and winemakers, click HERE.