Many companies look for “something green” to do for Earth Day, but Sonoma County’s Benziger Family Winery is making a sustained commitment to healthy living with new eco-friendly packaging, carbon reductions through Carbonfund.org’s program, and assistance to the farm worker community.
Benziger has launched an “eco-friendly” packaging initiative that includes lighter bottles and new labels. The new bottles weigh 30 percent less than a traditional wine bottle, which amounts to 289,600 pounds of glass saved per year, as well as the resources required to ship that weight.
The new labeling not only reflects a new look for the Benziger Family Winery line of wines, but uses 30 percent post-consumer waste and soy-based, eco-friendly ink.
Beyond being “green,” the new label saw a major redesign. Benziger’s label symbolically depicts the four archetypal elements (Earth, Water, Air and Fire) through ancient Greek symbols. Only when the four elements are balanced in a wine, the fifth element of Spirit emerges. Finally, these elements are displayed against a vortex, representing the rhythms of nature in every vintage.
“We’re proud to roll out a new ‘greener’ packaging that truly reflects our commitment first and foremost to wine quality and to natural farming practices,” said Mike Benziger, founder and estate winemaker. “The new label encompasses the quality of the wine, combined with the careful work that we do every day in the vineyards.”
Additionally, the winery has announced that its operations are now carbon neutral due to the investment in an equivalent carbon reduction through a California-based truck stop electrification project.
“Becoming a carbon neutral business has been a long-time goal for us,” said Benziger. “We wanted to be sure that we had conserved our resources and reduced our impact environmentally in all the ways that we could before taking the next step to become carbon neutral.
“We’re particularly excited that the initial project we are helping to fund is relevant to our business and reduces emissions from idling by a gallon of diesel per hour per truck. That adds up to a lot of fuel and emissions reduced over time.”
Noted Eric Carlson, President of Carbonfund.org: “(We are) proud to welcome the Benziger Family Winery as a partner, and applaud their strong and innovative commitment to sustainability. Most companies might not realize that packaging can be a significant portion of their product’s environmental impact. Benziger Family Winery is truly taking positive steps to reduce what they can, and offset what they can’t.”
In a nod to those who tend to the earth, Benziger will donate 100% of the net profits from tasting room sales on Earth Day for the fourth consecutive year to Sonoma Valley’s La Luz Center/Vineyard Worker Services, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing the Sonoma Valley farm worker community assistance with housing, employment, health care, legal support and transportation.
In recognition of Benziger’s environmental leadership, the Natural Resources Defense Council awarded Mike Benziger the Water Steward award. The award was part of NRDC’s annual Growing Green Awards, which honors farmers, business leaders and promoters of sustainable food.
The Water Steward category consisted of farmers or other food producers who made extraordinary contributions in demonstrating water efficiency, sustainable water use and the protection of water quality. Benziger was chosen out of a field of 170 leaders throughout the food system.
“We are thrilled and honored to have been awarded such a tribute in a category that means so much to us,” said Benziger. “Water is fundamentally at the heart of all of our operations at Benziger Family Winery, and we do all we can every day to conserve and recycle this precious resource.”