Embracing change, Napa winery saves dollars, water and energy  View email in your browser

Sustainable Changes Pay Off for Napa Winery
September 2018

Energy saver: winemaker Ralf Holdenried

Black Stallion Winery, a CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE winery in Napa Valley’s Oak Knoll District with Cabernet Sauvignon as its signature varietal, has been owned by the Indelicato family and part of Delicato Family Vineyards since 2010. These third- and fourth-generation vintners have helped introduce many sustainable practices on the 32-acre estate, focusing especially on reducing energy and water use. Director of Winemaking Ralf Holdenried has overseen many of the efforts on the winery’s path to certification.

You have achieved some energy savings by shifting your time of use. Can you share details?
Unless you have a method of energy storage, you get energy at a winery as you demand it. Our biggest energy need is for cooling our barrel warehouse, and we have switched the energy load to off-peak hours to get better rates. We are overcooling at night, utilizing the cool air from outside, and undercooling during the day.

You worked with the utility companies to bring your energy and water use down. How exactly did they assist you?
We know that electricity and water pumping in the winery and vineyard are some of our biggest users of energy. We have been working with PG&E to figure out where we use the most electricity. Is it lighting? Cooling? Cellar operations? We installed a lot of “smart” meters throughout the winery so that we can analyze this more effectively. We replaced all the incandescent light fixtures in the barrel room—about 75 of them—with LED lights, which use less electricity and generate less heat.
One of our biggest energy needs is cooling the fermentation tanks. It’s hard to quantify the savings but insulating all the glycol lines used for heating and cooling made a big improvement.
In the winery, we installed new tank- and barrel-washing equipment and high-pressure hoses that use less water. In the vineyard, we installed soil-moisture probes to do soil moisture measurements. This information, in addition to what we can see, allows us to fine-tune irrigation and develop an annual water budget. We are working on a plan that includes additional water meters and cloud-based tracking software that will alert the team when a pre-determined water-usage amount is reached.
We also installed a variable-frequency drive on our main irrigation well so the pump isn’t just 100 percent on or off. It runs at the pace you need.
We started collecting data on water use about three years ago. By recycling our process water for irrigation and with the tank- and barrel-washing improvements, we’ve seen at least a 20 percent reduction in water use in the past three years.

(Clockwise from top) winery entry; irrigation tanks; high-pressure hoses save water; making data-driven choices; checking drip lines; rooftop solar array

What steps have you taken toward more environmentally friendly packaging? Do consumers notice or care?
We have made some changes for our “trophy wines,” our Napa Valley Cabernets. We used to have them individually paper-wrapped and in wooden boxes. We talked to wine club members about it and they loved that but said they didn’t need it; they loved the wine just as much without it. We also encourage club members to pick up their wines at the winery so we don’t have to ship as much. We incentivize them with a pickup party and it really works. That’s a very busy day at the winery.

The CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE program emphasizes continual improvement. What’s on your to-do list?
We have invited San Francisco State University to do a comprehensive energy audit, and we await the report. It’s something they offer companies of our size. They measure everything we do as it relates to energy usage so we can see if there are additional areas to focus on. One thing we’ll be looking into is forklift traffic, to see if it’s more energy-efficient to switch to electric versus propane-powered forklifts. We’ve worked on the low-hanging fruit but there are always improvements to make.

Copyright 2018 Wine Institute

What's New?

SAVE THE DATE for an Upcoming Commonwealth Club Event:

"Giving Thanks: Celebrating the 2018 California Wine Harvest with Sustainable Practices & Pairings".

When: Thursday, November 15, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Where: Commonwealth Club in San Francisco

What: Join
CSWA Executive Director, Allison Jordan, and distinguished panelists Jim Collins (E.&J. Gallo Winery), Kathryn Walt Hall (HALL Wines), Aaron Lange (LangeTwins Family Winery & Vineyards), and Steve Lohr (J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines) as they share their year-long journey toward the 2018 wine grape harvest and their commitments to environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and the desire to keep land and businesses sustainable for future generations.

Following the program, continue the conversation during a wine and cheese reception. Learn more
Global Climate Action Summit Involvement:

Wine Institute, winery members and the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance were honored to be part of the historic Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) last week in and around the Bay Area. In addition to attending and presenting at the California Department of Food and Agriculture's "Scaling Up Climate Smart Agriculture", which was hosted by Jackson Family Wines at La Crema Winery, winery members and staff attended the COAL + ICE dinner with Governor Jerry Brown and other special guests, prepared by Alice Waters and highlighting California wines and local food.
Seasonal Recipes

Enjoy Wine Institute's fresh, seasonal, easy-to-prepare recipes with California wine pairing suggestions HERE

Grilled Sausages with Fig and Onion Jam

Did You Know? 

Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE) requires organizations to annually measure and record sustainability performance metrics including water, energy, and GHGs for wineries, and water and applied nitrogen for vineyards by their second year of certification.
Resources • Publications

Many practices in the California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing—including those that focus on soil management, energy and water use efficiency, and air quality highlight practices—can help winegrowers perform "climate smart agriculture." In addition, CSWA and Wine Institute have developed a number of relevant resources to help California growers and vintners better understand, assess, and mitigate their own carbon footprint.

California Wine's Carbon Footprint: A summary of the results and recommendations stemming from a study of California wine's carbon footprint..

DNDC Greenhouse Gas Modeling for California Vineyards:  A short description of a new online tool to help calculate GHG emissions from your vineyard soil though a computer model based on DNDC (DeNitrification-DeComposition)

Vineyard Management Practices and Carbon Footprints: A short summary of the key management practices that influence carbon sequestration and GHG emissions in the vineyard. 

California Vineyard Greenhouse Gas EmissionsAssessment of the Available Literature and Determination of Research Needs: A summary report of a literature review used to determine what was known about California vineyard GHG production and sequestration potential.
California Code of Sustainable WInegrowing Workbook:

Download individual chapters or the entire workbook to learn more about sustainability in your vineyard or winery HERE.
Down to Earth: a monthly newsletter celebrating the commitment of California vintners and growers to sustainable winegrowing and winemaking.
Wine Institute • 425 Market Street, Suite 1000 • San Francisco, CA 94105