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Four wineries win Calif. Green Medal awards

Fifth annual Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards recognize sustainable practices.

Tim Hearden, Western Farm Press

April 24, 2019

3 Min Read
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A landscape vineyard is in beams of the morning sun.Apriori1/Getty Images Plus

Two wineries from the Napa Valley region and two more from the Central Coast recently won the industry’s fifth annual California Green Medal awards for their environmentally friendly production practices.

Silver Oak Cellars in Oakville and Healdsburg, Domaine Carneros in Napa, Scheid Family Wines in Salinas and Smith Family Wines in Monterey County were announced this month as medal recipients for the Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards.

Presented by the California Association of Winegrape Growers, the Wine Institute and other industry groups, the Green Medal recognizes the leadership of wineries and vineyards committed to sustainability, industry leaders say.

The recipients will be honored during a legislative reception May 1 at the state Department of Food and Agriculture in Sacramento. The reception will recognize activities during the industry’s Down to Earth Month in April, according to a news release.

“The Green Medal recognizes the commitment and dedication to sustainability by California growers and vintners,” California Sustainable Winegrowing Association executive director Allison Jordan said in a statement.

“The hardest part is selecting only four recipients from the many amazing applications received from vineyards and wineries of all sizes from throughout California,” she says.

Medals are presented in the following categories: Leader, Environment, Community and Business, according to the release.

About the winners

Silver Oak Cellars. The Healdsburg and Oakville operation won the Leader Award, given to the vineyard or winery that excels in the three E’s of sustainability – Environmentally Sound, Socially Equitable and Economically Viable, the release states.

The Oakville facility was the first to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification in 2016 and the company’s Alexander Valley winery earned the same certification last year.

Most of the wineries’ energy needs are met through on-site solar panels and all of the process water at the Alexander Valley winery is treated on-site and reused, the award’s presenters explain. The company’s vineyards are also certified sustainable.

Schneid Family Wines. The Salinas facility received the Environment Award for its sustainability efforts, including installing a wind turbine that provides power to run the entire winery operation plus an additional 125 homes, according to the release.

Skylights were placed in the winery for lighting, and all the vineyards are certified sustainable for recycling and reusing all of the grape pomace and wastewater generated in their winery.

Smith Family Wines. The Monterey County business received the Community Award, which is given to the vineyard or winery that uses innovative practices to enhance relations with employees, neighbors and communities, according to presenters.

The company provides its employees with a full spectrum of benefits as well as a company-wide wellness program that includes exercise, nutrition, biometric analysis and lifestyle education, the release explains. Employees are also paid to participate in education and professional associations.

The company participates in sustainable winegrowing certification programs and has a full-time employee dedicated to sustainability.

Domaine Carneros. The Napa winery won the Business Award, which is given to a winery or vineyard that demonstrates smart business through efficiencies, cost savings and innovation by implementing sustainable practices, the presenters say.

The business sets measurable goals in the area of sustainability every three years and revisits them annually to ensure they’re on track. It saved about $75,000 per year in packaging costs through a reuse program that diverted solid waste from landfills while recognizing that reuse uses less energy and resources than recycling.

The vineyards and winery are also certified sustainable.

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