April 25, 2019 13:35
Five years ago in January of 2014, the Sonoma County Winegrowers Association announced its mission to make Sonoma County the nation’s first 100% certified sustainable wine region by the end of 2019. As the Russian River Valley and the rest of Sonoma County continue to become more and more renowned for producing some of the best wines of the New World, this association is paving the way to ensure this reputation is prevalent around the world for centuries to come. Back in 2014, when they announced this mission, only 33% of Sonoma County’s vineyard acres were certified sustainable under at least one of the three approved associations. As of December of 2018, that number has risen to 89% of Sonoma County’s vineyard acreage. With improvement like this, consumers are learning to associate Sonoma County labeled wines with not just a reliable product, but also environmentally-friendly practices that will continue to be improved upon year after year.
Here at Martin Ray, we have truly taken this mission to heart and have expanded our environmentally-friendly practices to include not just vineyard management, but production and bottling as well. We have incorporated a system of technology and practices that allow us to adequately utilize all three components of sustainability- reducing, reusing and recycling. Some of the improvements we’ve made to our facility with sustainability in mind are listed below:
- Our solar energy system supplies over 80% of the winery’s power.
- Winery cellar lighting is motion sensitive (lights off in dormant areas), and we are continuing to upgrade to LED lighting in all buildings.
- Electrical transformers have been updated and we are converting production equipment to more efficient 440v power. All crush equipment and refrigeration are now modified with VFD’s (Variable Frequency Drives) which use power more efficiently.
- Our gray water collection pond has been recently upgraded to better treat winery wastewater through aeration and filtration, and much of it is being reused for landscape irrigation. This is particularly important in this time of drought.
- The piping that moves glycol throughout the winery to chill and warm tanks for fermentation and storage has been insulated for efficiency, as well as the tanks themselves to help maintain temperature with minimal energy consumption.
- Our inert Nitrogen is generated on-site which doesn’t require compressed gas deliveries by truck.
- All grape processing pomace (stems, seeds, skins) is recycled into vineyard and landscaping compost.
With changes like these, it’s not hard to see how inspired we’ve become by the mission set forth for Sonoma County by the Winegrower’s Association. Operating on the longest continuously-running winery in California ourselves, having a rich history is something we take great pride in, and because of this, we want to do everything we can to make sure our vineyards and brand are in a position where they can continue to grow and prosper for generations to come.