The decision to go solar was an easy one for Dana Merrill of Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery in Templeton, Calif.
As this story details, he had already seen how his son had slashed home energy costs by going solar. Receiving grant funding from the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program, authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill, was just a bonus.
Energy efficiency already had been of paramount importance at the winery, where the main energy expenditure involved running the chiller that keeps the barrel storage warehouse cool. Installing solar panels just seemed like a natural extension of the Merrill family’s sustainable practices in the vineyard.
As eighth-generation farmers and grape growers in California’s Central Coast region, their connection to the land is strong. They were practicing sustainable farming before the phrase came into being.
For close to three decades, they supplied grapes to a wide array of clients, from very small wineries to large international brands. Finally, based on the track record of success enjoyed by the wines made from those grapes, the family decided to start making their own wines as well.