We are very pleased to announce that our winery has qualified for the Napa Green Vineyard certification. Combined with our earlier Napa Green Winery Certification, we have a sustainable environmental program from the vineyards all the way through the winemaking process.
The Napa Green certification applies to our Howell Mountain and Affinity estate vineyards and to our winery facility on Howell Mountain.
Napa Green encompasses the wine industry’s most comprehensive “best practices” for land-use and wine production. It's a voluntary program which is open to all Napa County vintners and grape growers and is certified by state and county agencies.
When we decided to participate in this program, both on the vineyard and winery side, I knew that the process would involve an extensive amount of detailed information and would be greatly time consuming. For those reasons, we decided to tackle the vineyard certification in 2009 and focus on the winery the following year.
In early 2009, we enrolled our vineyards in the Fish Friendly Farming Certification Program, sponsored by the California Land Stewardship Foundation. The focus of this organization is to maintain a high standard of water quality in the streams and rivers of our state, with wildlife protection as a primary objective.
The overall scope of the program is, however, much more expansive than the name indicates, covering all aspects of Best Management Practices in farming. It includes detailed analysis of erosion control measures, vineyard management practices, use of materials and all other factors in vineyard operations.
Our vineyard manager Carlos Mendez and I worked on collecting and summarizing the data for our vineyards. Then the professional staff at Fish Friendly Farming reviewed our practices, made recommendations, and performed on-site inspections of the properties. That portion of the process took until late 2009 to complete.
The final inspections for State of California certification carried over into 2010. With substantial cuts in budgets at the state level, fewer inspectors were available to cover the statewide scope of the program.
Late last year, the inspectors were able to fit our vineyards into their schedule, and we were approved for environmental certification. Due to the backlog of paperwork at the state level, we are still awaiting receipt of the official certification document.
Green certification for the winery followed a different process. We enrolled in the Napa Green winery environmental program, administered by the Napa Valley Vintners Association, in early 2010. The program uses an extensive questionnaire template adapted for winery operations from the Bay Area Green Business Program format.
Our Cellar Master, J.P. Formento, agreed to take responsibility for the work necessary to achieve certification. Complete water and power usage audits were performed and every aspect of our facilities and business practices was scrutinized.
This detailed information was submitted to the Napa County Department of Environmental Management for their review, physical inspection, comments and final approval. J.P. did a great job and the winery received environmental certification in the Fall of 2010, shortly after final inspection and approval by the Environmental Management Department.
Napa Green is the wine industry’s most respected environmental sustainability program and all of us here at the Robert Craig Winery are pleased and proud that we took the time and put forth the effort to become participants. We learned a lot in the process and have an all-around better company as a result.
For more information on the Napa Green land and winery programs, click on this link: http://www.napagreen.org/