Wine: Ground-breaking Fetzer study measures carbon

Report says ‘huge stocks’ on land could benefit wine industryA new study of carbon sequestration on 1,322 acres of Fetzer Vineyards vineyard and wild land in Mendocino County could make the chemical element a huge resource for the wine industry under California's evolving greenhouse-gas emissions accounting system.

Owners of vineyard property should get carbon-capturing credit for leaving parts of the property undeveloped for soil-friendly viticultural techniques such as composting, mulching and cover cropping, according to U.C. Davis researcher Louise Jackson, Ph.D.

"There are huge stocks of carbon in these landscapes," she said. "There's no incentive to avoid land conversion in agriculture."

Dr. Jackson, who has completed agriculture carbon-sequestration studies around the state for the California Energy Commission in the past several years, presented the study at the Green Wine Summit in Santa Rosa on Tuesday.

Her research team studied five Fetzer ranches with 1,322 acres in 30 vineyards and more than 100 blocks as well as surrounding undeveloped woodlands. The property is conservatively estimated to sequester 133 tons of carbon per acre, or 135,337 tons in tree and vine wood above ground and in up to three feet of dirt, per the Kyoto Protocols. Root volume was excluded because of the high difficulty in developing a statistical model of volume and density, Dr. Jackson said.

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