Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science




Sustainable Agriculture

First Advisor

Cornelia Flora


This thesis broadly explores one community of winegrowers as they attempt to collectively sustain their livelihoods by employing the sustainable agriculture model. Through in-depth interviews with fourteen organizationally defined sustainable winegrowers, this thesis articulates the actual and potential role sustainable viticulture plays in sustaining the livelihoods of winegrowers in Lodi, California. The unassuming town of Lodi is of particular interest, since these winegrowers have blazed a trail in the field of sustainable viticulture. Lodi winegrowers have established some of the most robust sustainable agriculture programs in California, and arguably in the country. My interpretations of Lodi's achievements are couched in the community capitals framework, and I present five emergent themes. I start with a growers' definition of sustainable viticulture. Providing their children with the option of winegrowing as an economically viable livelihood is the dominant theme in grower definitions. The social and natural elements are seen as resources to be stewarded. Second, I discuss the topic of winegrower legacy. Sustaining their winegrower legacy is their core motivation, and economic viability is paramount to this objective. Third, I attempt to shed light on the question of "Why Lodi?" by drawing on the concept of social capital to describe why Lodi's winegrowing community has established California's and the nation's first sustainable viticulture programs. Next, I take a look at growers' motivations for creating the Lodi Rules. These motivations include economic gain but, more interestingly, go beyond it to include fair recognition for the quality of the winegrapes they grow. Finally, I identify certain human capital qualities which seem to encourage the adoption of sustainable viticulture on an individual level, but the bulk of the human capital discussion argues that participation in the Lodi Rules program enhances sustainable viticulture human capital. Sustainable viticulture human capital has the potential to provide Lodi growers with diverse benefits, especially in regards to securing economic viability through increased quality and value.


Copyright Owner

Matthew Hoffman



Date Available


File Format


File Size

86 pages

Included in

Sociology Commons