Going Green One Step At A Time
Like many businesses, we've been going green one step at a time. It started over 10 years ago with sustainable farming practices in our vineyards. Raptor perches, planting of cover crops, and riparian habitat management have all transformed the way we farm. I've got to give The Husband credit here, as he was ahead of his time in an industry steeped in tradition. It wasn't easy to convince growers that these farm friendly practices were not only good for the earth but economically viable too.
Next came the installation of owl and bat houses outside the winery. I'll never forget the day he told me we'd be collecting bat guano soon to use as fertilizer and provide organic material to feed the soil. Great I said, I'm all for it. But bat guano collection falls under your area of responsibility, not mine!
Lately, we've completely retrofitted the winery with lower wattage, energy efficient light fixtures. A simple move like this will lower our power usage and reduce our energy bill. And, with PG&E's rebate program, we're going to save money too! We figure our return on investment is 1-1/2 years. It's pretty hard to say no to that. Now, we're looking into going solar by the end of 2009.
Like anything, (except diets!) once you get started, it's easy to find greener ways to run your business. Recycling all solid waste, including those from production practices (pomace and lees) is standard. Using eco-friendly materials for our packaging and shipping materials, reducing waste water run-off, and lowering water usage in the vineyards by developing a closed loop water collection system (to recycle rainwater) has helped too.
And, I'm happy to say, I've found an alternative bottle for our heavyweight contender, Endeavour Cabernet! (See blog post: The Case of the Overweight Bottle) It's still got the manly look we want and it's lighter in weight. Even though it's a little step, it's another decision that is slowly impacting the greening of Dry Creek Vineyard.
Now, if we could only figure out something to do with those left over corks!
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