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 ▶
1. Water conservation
Winery Wastewater 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.
water reclamation pond at Heart hill vineyard after a series of storms allowed us to collect over 1 million gallons of water to later use for vineyard irrigation
2. Energy Efficiency
Gravity Flow Winery Design
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 Air 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.
view of our gravity flow winery from the top floor where we hand-sort our grapes before dropping them into the tanks below
We 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.
the solar array on our winery roof outlined by a double rainbow
We currently farm over 200 acres of "Sustainability in Practice" Certified Vineyards & craft all our wines in our SIP Certified Winery. The program certifies vineyards & wineries independently and we were the first winery to acheive certification in both. We chased this dual certification so we can be held accountable for carrying our sustainable practices in the vineyard through the entire winemaking process. Click here to see how SIP compares to other sustainability certifications.
After our approval into the SIP Program our vineyards & winery practices are evaluated yearly by a team of experts. The inital inspection is difficult and created so that not everyone can acheive certification. Being SIP Certified goes beyond winemaking & shows our dedication to the 3 P’s of Sustainability – People, Planet, Prosperity. We are committed to ensuring that both natural and human resources are protected and take the following actions:
Approach Pest Control with an "Integrated Pest Management" Strategy
With integrated pest management (IPM) practices we have not used an insecticide in over 5 years. We also limit our chemical and fertilizer use to organic and/or soft chemistry and rotate with every application keeping resistance in mind. We place owl boxes & predator bird perches throughout the vineyard to encourage natural predation of ground squirrels & other harmful pests. We consequently see Red Tail Hawks & the occasional Golden Eagle using our sites as a hunting ground!
Plant Cover Crop in the Vineyard
We maintain cover crops at all of our vineyards to increase biodiversity, attract beneficial insects, prevent errosion, ammend nutrition deficiencies & more. Since we're farming three vastly different areas with different soils & climates we will use a different mix of plants at each site that can contain mustard, clovers, vetch, legumes & more.