Keeping Napa Green: Toasting Napa Valley’s Sustainable Wineries

Alpha Omega solar arrays

Photo Credit: Bob McClenahan

Visitors to Alpha Omega winery often ask me the meaning of the Napa Green Certified signs visible from Highway 29 and as they turn into the estate on Mee Lane in Rutherford. The signs recently began appearing at Napa Valley wineries and continue to increase at a significant pace that demonstrates a commitment to the environment by vintners. As we head into Earth Month, it’s worth pointing out that these green and white signs indicate that the winery and/or vineyard have met the stringent requirements of the Napa Green program, a comprehensive sustainability certification for vineyards and wineries in Napa Valley.

Alpha Omega Napa Green

Photo Credit: Alpha Omega

Soil-to-bottle stewardship includes protecting and restoring the Napa River watershed, saving energy and water, reducing waste and carbon footprint–and being conscientious employers and good neighbors. Independent, third-party certification of farms and winemaking facilities makes Napa Green one of the most rigorous sustainability accreditations the wine industry offers. More than 70 percent of Napa Valley Vintners’ (NVV) 550 members are certified. (I’m proud that Alpha Omega is among the double-certified wineries.)

Alpha Omega

Photo Credit: Suzanne Becker Bronk

NVV is well on its way to reaching its goal to have all of its eligible members in the Napa Green program by the end of 2020. If you prefer tasting at a winery that puts as much thought into protecting the environment as it does its Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, visit www.napagreen.org to browse the list of participating wineries and check out the sample itineraries that move from south (Napa/Carneros) to north (Calistoga). A few of my favorite environmentally-conscious wineries include Alpha Omega and St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery in Rutherford, Cade Estate Winery in Howell Mountain, Jarvis Estate in Napa and Schramsberg Vineyards in Calistoga.

Alpha Omega

Photo Credit: Alpha Omega

At Alpha Omega, which boasts the most extensive solar and energy storage microgrid system in PG&E’s 70,000-square-mile service area, five solar arrays were architecturally designed to serve as shade structures for parking and winery equipment. Guests can relax knowing their wine purchased elsewhere is protected from the sun. The winery also offers three Tesla charging stations and another for electric vehicles.

St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery culinary garden

Photo Credit: St. Supéry

Inside the tasting room at St. Supéry, wine enthusiasts can view a giant screen showing current solar generation data and what that saved energy equals in terms of light bulb use and tons of carbon dioxide and gallons of gas collected. There’s also a culinary garden where most of the produce used in St. Supéry’s food experiences at the winery and Dollarhide Ranch is grown.

Cade Estate Winery

Photo Credit: Cade Estate Winery

It’s not just the fabulous, hilltop views that make a visit to Cade a must. You’ll feel good knowing that the majority of Napa Valley’s first LEED Gold Certified estate winery is made of recycled materials such as steel and plastic. Recycled blue jeans help insulate the Cade tasting room.

Jarvis Estate

Photo Credit: Martin Mann

Jarvis, nestled in the scenic Vaca Mountains, is the country’s first winery and cave operation built entirely underground. Park your car in a grassy meadow then enter the 45,000-square-foot cave where an underground waterfall provides more than a beautiful, calming presence. The waterfall also maintains the perfect temperature and humidity level for barrel aging wines.

Schramsberg’s wine caves

Photo Credit: Schramsberg

The oldest wine caves in Napa Valley, however, are at Schramsberg, where 155 acres of forested land preserve the natural beauty of this Napa Green-certified property. I love the tours here–not to mention the bubbly!

Some of the wonderful wines produced by Napa Green-certified wineries, including Alpha Omega, were poured at the 13th Annual Green Business Awards Reception 2019 put on by the San Francisco Green Business Program on March 13 at the California Academy of Sciences. On April 18, I look forward to raising a glass to the environment with my Napa neighbors at the second Napa Green Champion Celebration at Domaine Chandon.

Cheers!
Kelly

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