Our approach to sustainability is guided by the Principles of Sustainable Winegrowing published by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.
Our vineyards and winery received third-party, California Sustainable Winegrowing certification in 2010 for our commitment to continual improvement towards a sustainable future. In 2005, we began our transition to certified organic farming and production, and our final vineyards were certified in 2012.
In addition to the grapes we grow, some other principal elements of sustainability that go into our wines are:
- Approximately 25% of our total electricity use, including the Stables, comes from the 17 Kw, 84-panel solar array.
- Birdboxes: Birds are essential to our viticulture by reducing the insect and rodent populations in the vineyard and the property at large. As such we have erected raptor roosts and bird boxes as well as promoting trees for roosting and hunting.
- Predatory Animals: We provide wildlife corridors through our property to the adjoining open space. We work to facilitate bobcats and coyotes stalking our vineyards for pesky vermin by leaving gaps in the fencing for them. Just like the birds, we want to create a symbiotic partnership
- Stems and Pomace (skins and seeds – what’s left after pressing): Composted organically onsite and available for purchase. The stems are composted and provide fibrous material to the compost. Pomace is also what one would ferment to make grappa.
- Lees (the particulates that settle at the bottom of tanks and barrels; we rack the wine to separate the wine from the lees): A rich source of nitrogen for the soil, but not good if allowed to go into waters that lead to San Francisco Bay. As a result, we collect all tank lees (about 90% of what we produce) and add it to the compost pile to enrich our compost. What remains, primarily from rinsing barrels, flows to our septic system, not the Bay. And, compost is free – loading is provided for a fee.
- Glass: All of our glass (bottles and broken glasses) is recycled at the winery, and we separate all of the capsules from the bottles.
- Cardboard: Used in our case boxes and shipping containers and inserts. We now directly recycle our cardboard as necessary. To reduce our carbon footprint we bundle trips to the recycler with trips to our wine storage facility. The proceeds go to the employee party fund!
- Corks: All natural from Portugal. We started buying corks from Juvenal Direct in the late 1990’s, after they refined their Delfin process for uniform drying of the corks to minimize the TCA risk. We save the corks for school and personal arts and crafts projects. If you’d like some, just ask–they’re free!
- Capsules: Ours are tin and use water-based inks to eliminate acids in the manufacturing process. We save the used capsules for cash recycling to grow the employee party fund.