SAN FRANCISCO — Four California wineries and vintners were named Green Medal winners recognizing a commitment to sustainability in Leader, Business, Environment and Community categories.
The California wine community is a global leader in sustainability, with over 80% of California wine made in a Certified California Sustainable Winery. More than half of the state’s winegrape acreage is certified as Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing, Fish Friendly Farming, LODI RULES, Napa Green or SIP Certified.
“The Green Medal is an opportunity to recognize the industry’s cutting-edge leaders in sustainability,” said Allison Jordan, California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) Executive Director. “Their stories illustrate what it means to grow and craft quality winegrapes and wine while protecting the environment, being a good neighbor and employer and maintaining thriving family farms and businesses.”
LEADER AWARD – O’Neill Vintners & Distillers
O’Neill Vintners & Distillers, located in California’s Central Valley, is the recipient of the Leader Award, given to a vineyard or winery that excels in the three “Es” of sustainability — Environmentally sound, socially Equitable and Economically viable practices.
As a community leader, O’Neill Vintners & Distillers has an overarching belief that sustainability is the right thing to do for everyone’s future. They are committed to making a real impact, not just in sustainable farming, but also by ensuring a well-rounded, diverse workforce with scholarship and internship opportunities to advance Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) representation. The company’s humanitarian mindset translates into its relationships with the community as well.
During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, O’Neill Vintners & Distillers made and distributed hand sanitizer to local first responders and hospitals. Other examples of leadership in practice are the installation of a new BioFiltro worm farm and the recycling of over 43 million gallons of water for field irrigation.
With multiple third-party environmental and sustainability certifications, including Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing, California Certified Organic Farmers and British Retail Consortium; innovative research projects; advancements in BIPOC representation; and a long-term commitment to sustainability through capital improvements in solar, water, and soil, O’Neill Vintners & Distillers has demonstrated that sustainability is the ultimate expression of its commitment to people, to the planet and to profit.
BUSINESS AWARD – Trinchero Family Estates
Trinchero Family Estates, located in Lodi and Napa Valley, is the recipient of the Business Award, given to the vineyard or winery that best demonstrates smart business through efficiencies, cost savings and innovation from implementing sustainable practices.
The family and staff at Trinchero Family Estates believe that they have a responsibility to their customers, employees, partners, and communities to take meaningful actions to reduce their environmental impact and to incorporate sustainability into their business decisions.
Trinchero Family Estates has reduced water use and maximized water reuse at production facilities and in the vineyards. It also minimized waste generated by its facilities, while striving to achieve a zero waste to landfill status.
By reducing energy, fuel consumption and related greenhouse gas emissions; through conservation programs, facility and package design; and the use of alternative energy installations, Trinchero Family Estates has positively impacted its triple bottom line. Its Guiding Environmental Policy has six commitments including continuing its long history of sustainable farming practices, minimizing water usage, waste generation, fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and integrating environmental responsibility into its supply chain. By acting on these commitments, Trinchero Family Estates has shown that sustainability is good for business.
ENVIRONMENT AWARD – Shannon Ridge Family of Wines
Shannon Ridge Family of Wines, based in Lake County, is the recipient of the Environment Award, given to the vineyard or winery that best demonstrates environmental stewardship through maximized environmental benefits from implementing sustainable practices.
Through initiatives such as “Project Ovis,” the family is implementing a combination of sustainable, organic and regenerative farming practices, utilizing livestock like sheep, chickens and cows in their vineyards and non-crop areas. The sheep have reduced the need to mow by 500% and the use of gas-powered weed eaters has been nearly eliminated.
Shannon Ridge Family of Wines strives to bring balance to its farming system through the promotion of beneficial worms and insects and the creation of natural crop protection materials from compost to soil teas. The company is committed to data collection and analysis and shares both its successes and failures with the greater wine industry.
As one of the largest employers in Lake County, Shannon Ridge Family of Wines contributes to a local homeless shelter, an annual wine auction for local charities and scholarship fund for local students; participates in local farmers markets; and educates community members on their sustainable farming practices.
Currently certified to Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing, Fish Friendly Farming and LODI RULES, Shannon Ridge Family of Wines is soon to be one of the largest certified organic, mountain-grown vineyards in the U.S. by fall 2021.
COMMUNITY AWARD – Boisset Collection
Boisset Collection, headquartered in Napa Valley, is the recipient of the Community Award, given to the vineyard or winery that is a good neighbor and employer using the most innovative practices that enhance relations with employees, neighbors and/or communities.
Boisset Collection stands apart for its commitment to its local community. This commitment is demonstrated through the care and support provided to its employees during times of crisis, the provision of educational opportunities and resources and its investments and donations to charitable endeavors that benefit the broader community.
Boisset Collection educates its community and customers about sustainability through company-supported initiatives and curated guest experiences including tours through its renowned Biodynamic® gardens.
In March 2020, Boisset Collection premiered JCB LIVE, an online series that has featured over 175 guests including vintners, growers, community leaders, activists, philanthropists and more.
In 2020, through the production and sale of two wines, a donation of over $40,000 was given to support out-of-work sommeliers as well as scholarship funds from the Association of African American Vintners Scholarship Fund and Wine Unify. Boisset Collection’s goal is to donate over $140,000 in 2021 to similar organizations. With a commitment to progress and a passion for diversity, Boisset Collection is driving forward positive change for both its employees and community.
Applications to determine the winners were judged by a panel of wine and sustainability experts, including Karen Block, PhD, UC Davis Viticulture and Enology; Stephanie Bolton, PhD, Lodi Winegrape Commission; Anna Brittain, Napa Green; David Glancy, MS, San Francisco Wine School; Allison Jordan, California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance; Frances Knapczyk, Napa Resource Conservation District; Cyril Penn, Wine Business Monthly; Mike Taylor, Nugget Market, Inc.; Sandra Taylor, Sustainable Business International LLC; and Beth Vukmanic Lopez, The Vineyard Team.
The seventh annual Green Medal awards are supported by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, California Association of Winegrape Growers, Wine Institute, Lodi Winegrape Commission, Napa Green, Napa Valley Vintners, Sonoma County Winegrowers and Vineyard Team.
Sponsors of this year’s Green Medal Awards include Wine Business Monthly, Amorim America, Farm Credit Alliance, ETS Laboratories and Protected Harvest.
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