SAN FRANCISCO — The California Green Medal recipients have been announced for the fifth annual Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards.  The California Green Medal recognizes the leadership of wineries and vineyards committed to sustainability and is presented by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, California Association of Winegrape Growers, Wine Institute, Lodi Winegrape Commission, Napa Valley Vintners, Sonoma County Winegrowers and the Vineyard Team.  Four Green Medals are presented in the following categories: Leader, Environment, Community and Business.  The recipients of the Green Medal Awards will be honored at a ceremony at the California Department of Food and Agriculture in Sacramento on May 1, 2019.  The event will be held in conjunction with a Legislative Reception, celebrating California Wines Down to Earth Month in April recognizing the California wine community’s commitment to sustainable winegrowing.

Recipients of the 2019 Green Medals are:

LEADER AWARD, given to the vineyard or winery that excels in the three “E’s” of sustainability— Environmentally Sound, Socially Equitable and Economically Viable practices.

Recipient: Silver Oak Cellars, located in Healdsburg and Oakville, California, understands that sustainability is a long-term strategy to achieve a healthy and thriving business, without compromising future generations’ ability to use and enjoy natural resources.  Some innovative ways they achieve their sustainability goals include the design of the wineries for maximum efficiency through LEED certification.  Their Oakville Winery was the first production winery to achieve LEED Platinum certification in 2016 and their Alexander Valley winery earned LEED Platinum certification in 2018.  Most of their energy needs are met through onsite solar and 100% of their process water at the Alexander Valley winery is treated onsite and reused.  Silver Oak Cellars provides rich benefits and fosters a family-focused work atmosphere.  Silver Oak’s sustainability leadership is further evidenced by their integration of Living Building Challenge (LBC) standards in the design of their new Alexander Valley winery, with the goal to become the first LBC certified winery in 2019, on top of comprehensive vineyard and winery certification to Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE) and the Napa Green Land and Winery programs.

Water tower at Silver Oak Cellars in Alexander Valley.

ENVIRONMENT AWARD, given to the vineyard or winery that best demonstrates Environmental Stewardship through maximized environmental benefits from implementing sustainable practices.

Recipient: Scheid Family Wines, based in Salinas, California, holds sustainability as a core value.  Sustainability, in the broadest sense of the word, is what Scheid Family Wines strives for every day in all that they do.  They installed a wind turbine that provides power to run the entire winery operation plus an additional 125 homes, and installed skylights in the winery to provide a more pleasant work environment and reduce electricity usage.  All the vineyards and the winery are Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE).  They recycle and reuse 100% of the grape pomace and wastewater generated in their winery.  In the vineyard, they invest in human assisted technology to ease the physical demands of pruning, increase safety, enhance the well-being of their employees and extend their careers.  Scheid Family Wines believes that being a leader in the wine industry requires a deep commitment to environmental stewardship and the well-being of their employees and local community.

Scheid Family Wines wine turbine.

COMMUNITY AWARD, given to the vineyard or winery that is a Good Neighbor & Employer using the most innovative practices that enhance relations with employees, neighbors and/or communities.

Recipient: Smith Family Wines, based in Monterey County, California, is a strong supporter of their local community and fosters a quality environment for their employees.  A full spectrum of benefits is offered to all employees and they run a companywide wellness program with weekly outreach to employees and their families, including exercise, nutrition, biometric analysis, and lifestyle education.  The wellness program alone reflects a $200,000 commitment to their employees. Employees are also paid to participate in education and professional associations, and there is comprehensive safety training.  The company participates in LODI RULES, SIP Certified, and Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE), with a full-time employee dedicated to sustainability. Smith Family Wines is a leader in providing their employees a safe, socially equitable, and economically just place to work.

The Smith Family Wines team.

BUSINESS AWARD, given to the vineyard or winery that best demonstrates Smart Business through efficiencies, cost savings and innovation from implementing sustainable practices.

Recipient: Domaine Carneros, located in Napa, CA, understands how sustainability leads to efficiency and cost effectiveness.  The company was built on a pillar of sustainability and as part of their open book management plan, they set measurable goals every 3 years in the category of sustainability and visit these goals annually to ensure goals are being met.  This type of management plan allows for all employees to be involved.  One of the ways they realized significant cost savings is through their packaging reuse program.  Since starting the program, the company has saved about $75,000 per year in packaging costs.  This program also has helped divert solid was from landfills, while recognizing that reuse uses less energy and resources than recycling.  Domaine Carneros’ smart business sense and commitment to sustainably is apparent in every facet of their operation, with both vineyards and the winery Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE) and the Napa Green Land and Winery programs.

Domaine Carneros cover-cropped vineyard in winter.

“The Green Medal recognizes the commitment and dedication to sustainability by California growers and vintners,” said Allison Jordan, CSWA Executive Director.  “The hardest part is selecting only four recipients from the many amazing applications received from vineyards and wineries of all sizes from throughout California.  The judging panel was impressed by the breadth and depth of sustainable practices being used to conserve water and energy, maintain healthy soil, protect air and water quality, preserve wildlife habitat, and enhance relations with employees and communities, all while improving the economic vitality of vineyards and wineries.”

A panel of wine and sustainability experts judged the applications for the fifth annual California Green Medal.  They include: Karen Block, Ph.D., Directory of Industry Relationss, UC Davis Viticulture & Enology; Stephanie Bolton, Ph.D., Sustainable Winegrowing Director, Lodi Winegrape Commission; Renata Brillinger, Executive Director, California Climate Action Network; Anna Brittain, Sustainability Consultant, Napa Valley Vintners; David Glancy, Master Sommelier, San Francisco Wine School; Allison Jordan, Executive Director, California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance; Cyril Penn, Editor in Chief, Wine Business Monthly; Kate Piontek, Vice President of Operations, Sonoma County; Mike Taylor, Director of Adult Beverages, Nugget Market Inc.; Ann Thrupp, Executive Director, Berkeley Food Institute at UC Berkeley; and Beth Vukmanic Lopez, SIP Certification Manager, The Vineyard Team.

Award sponsors are — Exclusive Media Sponsor: Wine Business Monthly; Gold Sponsor: Rivercap; Silver Sponsors: Farm Credit Alliance, G3, Marin Clean Energy and Protected Harvest; and, Bronze Sponsors: AG Unlimited and ETS Laboratories.

Visit: www.greenmedal.org for more information.  Happy Earth Day!

Media Contacts: Allison Jordan, 415.356.7535 or Gladys Horiuchi, 415.356.7525, communications@wineinstitute.org.

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