Sustainability is integral to our business
we have incorporated it into our approach to farming, building design and operations since our inception.
leadership in energy and environmental design
Our tasting room, restaurant and winery are LEED certified. We recycle and collect our winery wastewater, use natural lighting and employ energy efficient design. Learn About Our Buildings ▶
SUSTAINABILITY IN PRACTICE
This is a program we respect for their holistic approach to sustainability inclusive of land, people and business practices. All three of our vineyards are SIP certified and in 2016 we became the first winery to receive the SIP Certified Sustainable Winery designation. Learn About Our Vineyards & Buildings ▶
Solar Powered facilities
offsetting 110% of our energy needs
In 2015 we installed two solar arrays to power our tasting room, restaurant, winery & wells at our Heart Hill property. We also installed two different charging stations for electric cars that run directly from our system: one for Tesla on for non-Tesla EVs. Learn More About Our System ▶
The LEED program is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. We were the first winery on the Central Coast to earn this certification, and have implemented the following into our business model to keep our practices as green as we can:
Winery Water Reclamation
We recapture the water that hits our winery floor and use it for vineyard irrigation. Our floors are sloped to direct water into drains where it is pumped into a series of reclamation ponds that eliminate solid waste and balance nutrient levels. In addition to conserving water the feedback loop we get from managing and using our waste water allows us to understand how decisions in the winery effect downstream ecosystems. We are extremely careful and deliberate in our use of chemicals in the winery as they will eventually find their way into our vineyards.
Rooftop Rain Collection
We have drains installed on our winery roof that capture approximately 45,000 gallons of water per inch of rain. In an average year we are able to capture over 700,000 gallons of water for use in irrigating our vineyards.
We use a variety of systems to measure water levels and deliver only what each vine needs. To monitor moisture levels in both the soil and vines we use the Decagon system, perform weekly pressure bombs to determine leaf water potential, and visual examinations. To deliver water precisely we use drip irrigation with double poly lines so that we can irrigate new or weak vines separately from the rest of the vineyard. In 2015 we are testing a Deep Root Irrigation System (currently installed on 3 acres of out Heart Hill Vineyard) which has the potential to cut our water usage in half.
We use our gravity flow system to drop fruit into our tanks. Because our facility has three levels, we are able to move fruit into tank without using pumps, ensuring that we get the exact level of extraction from the fruit that we desire. This helps keep excess stress off the fruit, and minimizes energy use.
The winery is located in the coolest part of the property, and built into the side of the hill in order to create a facility with conditions similar to a cave. It is constructed like a giant cooler with 16" thick tilt-up concrete walls containing a 4” foam core insert: the foam core acts as a thermal break, preventing the outside layer of concrete from conducting heat to inside the building.
Night Cooling Systems
Vents in the ceiling open up at night and suck in cool air limiting the amount of energy required to cool the facility. In addition, the production winery has 56 skylights (a total of 590 square feet) that provide natural working light in most spaces of the winery. Actual lights only turn on when natural light is not sufficient and turn on and off with motion sensors.
As of October 2015, we are solar powered! We have installed two separate solar arrays that will generate enough energy to offset 100% of our energy use at Heart Hill Vineyard - including our tasting room, restaurant, craft winery, winery, wells & water reclamation system.
We had two goals at the outset of the project: first, install a system that covered 100% of our energy use at Heart Hill; second, given the size of the system needed, make it as inconspicuous as possible. To accomplish both we had to get scrappy with system design and placement. The first array is ground mouted next to our tasting room and the second array is roof mounted on our winery. Click here to learn more about our solar conversion.
When choosing a certification program to validate the practices that we already had in place, we reached out to the SIP Team over other agencies because they adhere to a strict audit system based on practice and performance, meaning that every requirement is measurable and not every grower can qualify.
We use cover crops to manage a variety factors including plant parasitic nematodes, increase soil organic matter content, increase beneficial soil borne microbes, and to prevent soil erosion.
Integrated Pest Management
With integrated pest management and fertility practices, we have not use
d an insecticide in over 5 years, and limit our chemical and fertilizer use to organic and/or soft chemistry. Fungicides are never applied without consulting the Gubler Mildew and Botrytis Pressure Index and any chemistry is rotated with every application keeping resistance in mind.
Every two years we have soil samples at each vineyard analyzed by a soil scientist, checking for nematode damage and breakdown of soil health. We take two tissue samples from our vines twice yearly, at bloom and veraison, to analyze exactly what nutrients our vines are absorbing to make sure we are not under- or over-treating. All our fertilizers are distributed with humic and folic acids to facilitate higher rates of absorption, allowing us to use less.
Natural Habitat Preservation
We maintain wildlife corridors at all three of our vineyards, and encourage natural predators into our vineyards with owl boxes and predator bird perches.