Following meetings in San Francisco to discuss plans for our upcoming "Gorgeous and Green" event in December, CEO Matt Petersen and I took time out for a short field trip to visit sustainable wineries in California's famous Napa Valley during fall crush time.
First stop: Touring Ehlers, a biodynamic winery in St Helena. Ehler's operates as a small family farm, using a historic stone winery built in 1886. The winery effectively produces quality wines using environmentally friendly farming practices. They were certified organic in 2004, and achieved their status as a biodyanamic winery in 2005 -- though their head winemaker told us they have been using these same practices since their inception. If you want to drink wine and feel right at home, this is the place to go.
From Ehlers, we made our way up Howell Mountain to Cade Estate Winery. The vineyard is certified LEED Gold -- the first in Napa Valley. Caves are built in the side of the hill to prevent the use of energy to keep the wines cool and there's a V-shaped roof for rainwater harvesting. Solar panels provide approximately 96% of their energy -- and they keep the majority of their lights off during the day, even in the production facility. Cade is a winery of the future. It is built to respect the land and the art of making wine. And the wines you ask? Outstanding.
Not a bad day at work.