Carneros, Calif. – April 18, 2019 – As we get ready to commemorate Earth Day, Domaine Carneros, a family-owned winery committed to handcrafting ultra-premium sparkling and pinot noir wines from hand-harvested, estate grown grapes, is honored to be among the California Green Medal recipients for the fifth annual Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards. As the recipient of the 2019 California Green Medal Business Award, Domaine Carneros was recognized for demonstrating “Smart Business through efficiencies, cost savings and innovation from implementing sustainable practices.”
Since 1987, sustainability has been a main business practice employed by Domaine Carneros, instituted by CEO Eileen Crane, who has been with the winery since inception. Crane recognized that for philosophical as well as economic reasons, sustainability made sense as a tenet of doing business. Her open book management plan sets measurable goals every three years and reevaluates on an annual basis, ensuring employee involvement in managing the sustainability category as part of the winery’s culture.
“Domaine Carneros’ smart business sense and commitment to sustainability has been apparent in every facet of their operation, with both vineyards and the winery comprehensively certified to Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE) and the Napa Green Land and Winery programs,” noted the award announcement.
Domaine Carneros has placed a high priority on living as lightly on the land as possible. One practice credited for earning the Green Medal Business recognition was the packaging reuse program, whereby cases and inserts are re-used for in-house purposes, which amounts to about a 20-25% reuse rate each year. This alone has saved the company an average of $75,000 per year since the program began in 2011.
In addition to the packaging reuse program, the company installed the largest solar collection system of any winery in the world at the time in 2003 (the system captured enough electricity to power 230 homes for a year in 2017 when the data was last measured). Utilizing skylights to reduce the need for electricity, building into the earth and using night cooling systems to maintain cellar temperatures, have all contributed to further energy conservation.
Other green practices at Domaine Carneros include composting, and the recycling of bottles, corks, foils, cardboard, paper, plastic wrap and more throughout the winery, which has helped to divert 90% of its solid waste from landfills.
Since 2013, Domaine Carneros has been CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE. An annually renewed certification, CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE vineyards and wineries produce high quality grapes and wine, protect and preserve the environment, and enhance the community economically and culturally.
The company culture of sustainability extends beyond the walls of the winery as well. Since the late 1980’s Domaine Carneros has farmed sustainably, from using owl boxes as a natural solution for rodent management to using grape pomace from the harvest to feed local cattle.
An enduring focus on water conservation has led the winery to incorporate low flow toilets and employ reclamation systems through their properties. These are also some of the practices that led Domaine Carneros to be Fish Friendly Farming certified in 2015. Fish Friendly Farming is a certification program for agricultural properties managed to restore fish and wildlife habitat and improve water quality. The certification is renewed yearly.
In addition to these viticultural practices, Domaine Carneros follows vegan practices, using no animal-derived products at any point in the process, from growing the grapes to the winemaking.
About Domaine Carneros
Founded in 1987, Domaine Carneros reflects the hallmark of its founder, Champagne Taittinger, in creating a vision of terroir-driven sparkling wine while preserving the quality tenets of the traditional method production. Located entirely within the Carneros AVA, between Napa and Sonoma counties, the six estate vineyards total approximately 400 acres with 125 acres planted to Chardonnay, 225 acres planted to Pinot Noir, with the remaining acres currently in development. The winery focuses on making ultra-premium Carneros sparkling wines and limited production Pinot Noirs.
Domaine Carneros’ château has become a landmark and symbol of the region. The architecture and interior design were inspired by the 18th century Château de la Marquetterie, the Taittinger family residence in the Champagne region. The winery also places a high value on preserving the environment and has farmed sustainably since the late 1980s. The roof of the pinot noir winery adjacent to the château hosts a solar array that was the largest on any winery in the world when it was installed. Eileen Crane, CEO & Founding Winemaker, has overseen 31 harvests at the château and in 2018 celebrated the 20th anniversary of the release of the winery’s luxury cuvée, Le Rêve Blanc de Blancs.