Grapevines hang with ripening grapes at Bedell Cellars, a winery...

Grapevines hang with ripening grapes at Bedell Cellars, a winery in Cutchogue on the North Fork. (Aug. 3, 2010) Credit: Randee Daddona, 2010

The Island has a new not-for-profit organization aimed at supporting the region's vineyards and helping them move toward a model of environmentally sustainable practices. All Long Island's vineyards have been invited to join, the group, Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing Inc., said.

It aims to provide education and certification, and said it is "the first sustainable vineyard certification program in the Eastern United States."

A news release was sent out on Sunday over the names of Richard Olsen-Harbich, of Bedell Cellars; Larry Perrine, of Channing Daughters Winery; Jim Thompson, of Martha Clara Vineyards; and Barbara Shinn, of Shinn Estate Vineyards.

The new group said it is "raising the bar for eco-friendly farming practices and pioneering the union of viticultural science, world-class winemaking, and social responsibility."

Gaining certification, and meeting international standards of sustainable practices, is a challenge for growers of quality wine grapes, LISW said. It will begin providing help as this year's growing season begins.

"We are eager to strengthen the ecological leadership and social responsibility of the Long Island wine region," Olsen-Harbich, the Bedell Cellars winemaker, said.

"This effort has been an important process for Long Island wineries to demonstrate they are serious about making world-class wines that are also ecologically sensitive," Olsen-Harbich said.

Photo: Grapes in the vineyards of Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue.

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