< Back to all news

Hope Family Wines Achieves Sustainability Milestone

ABS Wine Agencies, Tue 30 Apr 2024

Hope Family Wines Achieves Sustainability Milestone

Hope Family Wines Achieves Sustainability Milestone with 50 Grower Partners

Four-Year Goal Nears Completion with More Than 99% of Fruit Supply Now Sustainably Certified

View full article here

Hope Family Wines today announced that more than 99.9 percent of its fruit supply now comes from sustainably grown vineyard blocks--the culmination of a four-year effort initiated by Owner-Winemaker Austin Hope and Director of Vineyards Stasi Seay.

"This is a massive win for our land, our wines and our growers," Hope said. "We are proud to be part of a larger movement in Paso Robles that is making sustainable farming the default practice for growing wine grapes."

An Ambitious Initiative

Starting in 2020, Hope and Seay embarked on an ambitious initiative with the winery's 50 grower partners to ensure that all of the fruit grown for the winery's six brands was sustainably certified by SIP (Sustainability in Practice) or Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing. To achieve this goal, sustainability certification was rolled out as a mandate in the winery's grape contracts. In some cases, Hope Family Wines made extra financial investments in its grower partners to help them absorb the costs associated with achieving certification.

"While some of our growers were already certified, others sought certification so that they could become one of our growers or maintain a contract with us," Seay said. "Once you start requiring these prerequisites, it becomes something that growers work into their annual plans and budgets, and ultimately into their farming philosophies, which is how sustainability becomes the norm."

She added, "It has been a very positive and encouraging experience that makes our growers' fruit more marketable to other grape buyers as well. It ultimately ensures that we're all on the same page and being mindful about the future of farming on the Central Coast."

Certification touches on all aspects of sustainability spanning both natural and human resources. By ensuring that their partner grower blocks are also sustainably certified, Hope and Seay have created a tool for portfolio-wide quality improvement in addition to doing right by the land and environment. "Sustainable farming ties together vine balance, soil health and water use, which, when done correctly, lead to higher quality fruit and wines," Seay said.

A Legacy of Sustainability

A recent story in SOMM Journal noted that Paso Robles "is leading the way for responsible farming practices…Here, the future is ripe with exciting possibilities that have the potential to reach well beyond Paso Robles."

The Hope family has been practicing sustainable viticulture in Paso Robles for more than 20 years, and the winery's estate vineyard in the Templeton Gap District is SIP Certified. The SIP certification program is one of the most rigorous of its kind. It is overseen by The Vineyard Team, a pioneering sustainability certifier based in the Paso Robles wine country.

"Austin and I both come from farming families," Seay said. "We're both keenly aware that our legacy as farmers is tied to how well we treat the land."

This latest sustainability initiative is part of Austin Hope's longtime ambassadorship for his home region. His parents, Chuck and Marlyn Hope, began planting vineyards in Paso Robles in 1978 and later became one of the region's largest growers of wine grapes. In 1983, the Hopes helped spearhead the creation of the Paso Robles AVA, and 10 years later helped establish the Paso Robles Vintners & Growers Association (now known as the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance).

Hope Family Wines today spans six brands that exemplify the world-class quality and diversity of Paso Robles: Austin Hope, Treana, Quest, Austin, Liberty School and Troublemaker. Hope Family Wines was named "2022 American Winery of the Year" by Wine Enthusiast.