As a family-owned winery, we are committed to sustainability throughout the operations. From our founding in 1972, we’ve held firm to the belief that this can only be achieved through following the three E’s of sustainability: Environmentally sound practices, social Equity and Economic viability. When the land is respected and the people who farm it and live in our community live well, true sustainable quality can be attained. All of our vineyards are officially certified by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, a statewide certification program that provides third-party verification of a winery’s commitment to continuous improvement and the adoption and implementation of sustainable winegrowing practices. Our commitment to environmental stewardship and equitable treatment of our employees is woven into the fabric of our company. We are dedicated to adhering to sustainable farming practices every day and investing in our workforce through real, meaningful programs.
IN THE VINEYARD
We use 100% drip irrigation, with technology that senses soil moisture and monitors plant stress, in order to use only the amount of water that is necessary. Planting a variety of cover crops between vineyard rows improves soil health naturally, prevents erosion, controls vine vigor, discourages weeds, and promotes the sustainable health of the vineyard. We follow an integrated pest management strategy to allow beneficial insects to control pests whenever possible and utilize low impact methods, such as herbal-based preparations applied to the soil to promote soil vitality through increased microbiologic activity and diversity. Over 250 owl boxes are perched amongst our vineyards, a natural way to control rodents that prey on grapevines, such as gophers and field mice. Barn owls take residence in our owl boxes where they nest during the day and hunt at night, helping to keep the land in balance.
IN THE WINERY
Our state-of-the-art winery was designed to reduce energy usage and cut waste. Sunlights throughout the winery reduce our electricity usage dramatically, as well as provide a more comfortable environment for our employees. The latest lighting technology, with automatic light sensors that turn on and off as needed, means no one has to remember to “turn off the lights”. Our tanks are all designed for maximum efficiency, with insulating jackets that reduce heating and cooling energy needs. We compost 100% of the grape pomace, stems and seeds and spread it back into the vineyards, and we recycle 100% of winery water through our wastewater irrigation ponds and reuse it on our vineyards. Our winery location just off of Highway 101 and less than a few miles from the majority of our vineyards, means fewer trucks on the highway.
Responsibility to our vineyard and winery workers has always been at the forefront of our mission. Programs to promote health and safety amongst our employees, such as regular training and safety meetings, exercise warm-ups, break rooms, shaded areas, and incentive programs, have been in place throughout our history. We provide 100% paid-for healthcare, vacation and retirement for all of our full-time employees. Much of our workforce has been with us for over 20 years, with several of our vineyard managers working for our company for over 40 years. We support many local organizations and programs in our community. One of our favorite programs, the Writing Contest, has been held annually since 1988 and we have awarded over $350,000 in scholarship money to local-area students.
The circle of life, that everything in this world is interrelated, is at its core what the word sustainability means. Just as herbivores eat plants, carnivores eat herbivores, carnivores die and plants absorb them to grow, we tend our vineyards, craft the grapes into wine, compost the grape pomace and winery wastewater, and return them to the vineyards. In the same way, we employ a vibrant local work force that supports our vision, and return to them, their families, and the community at large through providing health insurance and benefits, giving generously to local programs and events, and funding a long-running local scholarship program. It’s a complete circle: using resources wisely and giving back to replenish and renew them.
Oysters on the Half Shell with Mignonette Sauce
2 shallots, diced
2 tablespoons vinegar
½ cup District 7 Sauvignon Blanc
½ teaspoon ground pepper
2 dozen oysters, shucked
In a small bowl, whisk together the shallots, vinegar, Sauvignon Blanc, and pepper. Serve alongside the oysters on a bed of shaved ice. Enjoy immediately.
Did you know that oysters are one of the most sustainable seafood options out there? Just one more reason to enjoy them more often! For more sustainable seafood options, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch app here: http://www.seafoodwatch.org/.