Green Movement Goes Beyond Vineyards

    Black isn’t the only “color” being touted as the “new green” these days.

       Red, as in those precious Cabernet Sauvignon grapes that make up your favorite glass of vino, is seeing green, too.

Valley and

Sonoma winemakers, known for their stellar wine production, are making huge strides in their efforts to grow grapes without pesticides or fertilizers, The Daily Green reports.

       On top of this, they’re also figuring out ways to ferment and age wine by means other than stainless steel and electric refrigeration. Buildings made of thick straw bales and packed dirt that’s been re-purposed from cave excavations, are just a couple of ways wineries are providing natural insulation for ideal fermentation and aging.

       Many other fine

California winemakers are following the green path, creating wines that truly show their unique characteristics by virtue of sustainable farming, keeping wines at a cool temperature in freshly dug caves, and harnessing the sun by way of solar panels adapted to the common flat roofs of many wineries.

       Taking their queue from the practice of eco-conscious farming, winemakers are taking advantage of all the different green measures available to them, such as solar and biofuel power, and also reverting to farming practices that have been around for thousands of years.

       The Frog’s Leap winery in Rutherford, which produces organic wines, is powered solely by solar energy and also employs a geothermal system in its hospitality building, removing the necessity for heating and air conditioning.

       The practice of renewable policies also brings promise of returned investment.

       The Rodney Strong winery in Healdsburg spent $4 million on solar panels, with the intention of recouping this in 10 years. Napa Valley’s Nickel and Nickel winery not only installed thousands of solar panels on buildings, it also found ways to harvest solar energy alongside its grapes, mounting panels on the surface of an irrigation pond that it dubbed “floatovoltaics.”

       In the end, most wine producers have their eye on what it takes to make a great wine and, first and foremost, it’s about taste and quality. But with changing climates and an industry that is infinitely dependent on the weather, complementing the sun’s energy by means of sustainable practices — whether in the vineyards or on a building — is a positive step in maintaining the future of many a great wine.

Posted in Wine and the Environment
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