| Green Wine News |
Willamette Valley’s Grand Cru Wine Tours is the first wine tour company in the world to earn certification through the rigorous Sustainable Tourism Eco-certification Program (STEP). This certification, offered through the non-profit Sustainable Travel International, demonstrates commitment to developing a sustainable business from first sip to last.
“Sustainability is a way of life for me,” said Byron Williams, who launched this Monmouth, Oregon-based luxury wine tour operation in 2010. “When we established our company, being green was a personal requirement. The certification is a way of showing our customers that we take sustainability seriously and are open to outside reviews of our practices.”
Grand Cru Wine Tours has done a comprehensive self-assessment, drafted sustainability policies, collected baseline measurements of environmental, social and economic impacts, and submitted evidence that they’re using numerous best eco-practices. Next step is an on-site assessment by an independent party, known as third-party certification. This leads to the highest level of transparency and certification.
The company is planning routes for fuel efficiency, training its drivers to minimize the use of fossil fuels and is maximizing its recycling. It also purchases certified carbon offsets to remain carbon neutral overall.
Grand Cru serves local artisan food products on its tours, working with businesses who share its green aspirations. It also serves the Oregon Rain water brand—locally collected Willamette Valley rain— packaged in biodegradable bottles.