I've been at this for 30 years and this is the best, most well-thought-out program I've ever seen.

Yvon Chouinard, Environmentalist and Founder of Patagonia

Simple Steps to Reduce Winery Water Use

As one of the original members of both the Napa Green Certified Land and Winery programs, St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery recognizes that sustainability is a path, not a destination. One of their key discoveries on the path to improvement is that day-to-day awareness and staff empowerment are critical.

In 2016, as part of St. Supéry's Napa Green Winery re-certification process they participated in their first “Integrated Resource Assessment.” The assessment is a one-stop energy, water and waste audit that establishes baselines for energy and water use and waste diversion to evaluate areas for improvement.

After reviewing their initial water data, the staff at St. Supéry decided to focus on their water intensity metric. As a first step they trended the water data over time beginning in 2015 to show changes seasonally and with different operations.

Converting numbers to graphs is a key tool in communicating water use, showing large variances and inconsistencies.

David Hiestand, Production Coordinator

Next, they implemented monthly ‘tailgate’ trainings providing production staff with water use feedback, the current baseline metric and efficiency goal, discussing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and asking for input and suggestions. The cellar staff not only became motivated to beat the 2016 baseline but they also started to get competitive, asking to know specific water use in different areas of the winery.

As staff began to dig deeper, they implemented weekly – and sometimes daily, depending on activities - meter readings for each department.

By tracking use on days with different water intensive activities like bottling, tank and barrel cleaning, we can really see the difference. There are surprises, like the bottling line using more than we thought. We're now looking at steam and other cleaning alternatives.

Brooke Shenk, Winemaker

The water intensity metric and usage data had another benefit: making the case for a new barrel washing system with low-flow nozzles and pressure washers. This immediately cut water use for barrel cleaning by 50 percent.

Engaging staff and sharing ongoing accomplishments paid off. In 2016, St. Supéry achieved a 33 percent decrease in production water use over 2015, and in the first half of 2017, they achieved an additional 22 percent decrease over the same period in 2016.

Empowered by their successful efficiency efforts, St. Supéry is now baselining water use per guest and engaging the hospitality team in a little friendly competition. While water use efficiency is only one element of participation in Napa Green, St. Supéry has shown the rewards available to all participants by using focused metrics and getting your team on board to achieve shared goals.

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