Ivo I
Ivo II

Seven Principles of Regenerative Agriculture:

  1. Context
  2. Limit Disturbance
  3. Armor the Soil
  4. Living Roots
  5. Build Biodiversity
  6. Phaseout Chemical Inputs
  7. Integrate Animals

Grgich Hills Estate – Growing Vineyard Health, ROI, and Welcoming Companion Plants

As with sustainability, building a regenerative farm system is a journey, not a destination. Grgich Hills Estate has been on this journey for more than 20 years, and when you stand in their vineyards you see and feel the difference. As Ben Mackie, our Vineyard Program Manager, noted, “If you’re a bug or a bird, you want to be living in these vineyards.” Not only that, but Grgich has been collecting the data and making the case for the economics of regenerative, organic farming. Ivo Jeramaz, Winemaker and Vice President of Vineyards & Production, says,

Regenerative practices are a proactive approach to farm health. If you’re healthy enough you don’t get sick – you’re able to fight off disease and pests.

Ivo notes that perhaps the biggest challenge, or benefit, of shifting to truly regenerative farming is that it requires a “paradigm shift.”

Social Sustainability: Let’s start with the foundation – social sustainability. As part of achieving the new(ish) Regenerative Organic Certification, Grgich increased the hourly rate for their vineyard stewards to $23/hour. The stewards went from 60 hrs/wk with no overtime to 40 hrs/week with overtime. Grgich has a year-round crew of 45 people that they hire from a vineyard management company. “The vineyard team feels valued, is happier, and more motivated,” says Ivo. “Productivity has doubled or tripled. Even with rising supply chain costs our overall costs are only up 3-4% over the past few years.” As we stress at Napa Green, this is the ROI of investing in your team, not just in terms of a living wage but also training, opportunity, empowerment.

Companion Plants: Part of Grgich’s paradigm shift has been ceasing to see weeds and instead “companion plants.” In Grgich vineyards they build up about 2’ of cover around the vines and bring in the sheep, who eat voraciously. Ivo stresses, “It’s important not to keep the sheep in one area for too long. They’ll overgraze the cover crop and compact the soil. We want to keep ground cover year-round.” Grgich only mows the vineyard alleys, using a Twister undervine, and they’ve seen the benefits of soil water retention by eliminating tillage.

In terms of disease, 35-40% of vines in their Yountville old vine vineyards have leafroll, but their yield and quality remain on par with the Napa Valley average. In an average rainfall year, the 65 year old Yountville vineyard is producing 3.7 tons/acre and their 20 y/o vineyard averages 4.3 tons/acre. “Our regenerative practices are like a vaccine,” notes Ivo. “You only have to worry about red leaf if your vines and ecosystem are weakened.” Similarly, despite 2023 being a very wet year they had no mildew pressure.

Grgich replanted portions of their American Canyon vineyard last year due to diseased clones and a history of over-application of fertilizers. There is heavy gopher pressure but they’ve solved that with dozens of owl boxes, which have 90-95% occupancy. This year there were 32 pairs, and each family removes up to 8,000 rodents! This vineyard is perhaps their most remarkable site to see. The companion plants have grown to 5-6’ tall. “At first this was scary,” admits Ivo. “We didn’t want them to grow into the canopy. So we asked Dr. Christine Jones, a preeminent soil ecologist from Australia, for her advice. She explained that these companion plants are the only way to structure our heavy clay soil, and advised against their removal.” Again, the paradigm shift.

Bottom Line: Grgich works with an accounting firm that does an annual analysis of average farming costs for their 140+ clients. In 2022, the analysis found the average farming cost per acre in Napa Valley is $14,800, with $3,800 in depreciation. At Grgich, they spend $11,000 per acre, with only $1,300 in depreciation due to the longer life of their vineyards. Mic drop.

Festival of the Bells: Every fall, Grgich is now hosting the Festival of the Bells, with the mission of “Cultivating Peace Through Agriculture.” They’re bringing together regenerative leaders, Nobel Prize laureates, and industry peers to explore how they can support growers and farmers in transitioning to regenerative practices, learn what is working in different regions, and plan for the future. This forum raises money for Roots for Peace.

Grgich Hills Estate truly embodies our motto,

Caring for Nature & Community Elevates Quality & Experience.

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

Join these rockstars of winemaking this week at @complinewineshop for Vino & Vinyl night featuring all Napa Green Certified Wineries! 

🗓️: Thursday, July 18th 
📍: Compline Wine Shop 
⏰: 7:00pm 

Get your tickets now at the link in our bio! 💃🍷

@tressabores, @ashesxdiamonds, @spottswoodewinery, @closduval, @larkmeadvineyards, @complinewineshop, @tisharoundtown
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Plan your tasting at @phiferpavittwine in August! 🍷

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead
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You’re invited.. 

Join us for a fun night featuring some awesome Napa Green wineries! Link in profile for tickets. 🎵🍷

📍: @complinewineshop 
🗓️: Thursday 6/18/24 7:00-9:00pm
🎟️: Linked in profile
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Plan your tasting at the beautiful new Garden Pavilion at Napa Green Champion winery @whitehalllane! 

Help support Napa Green while sipping on delicious Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot amongst the scenic views. Cheers to Climate Smart Wines! 🍷

#napavalley #winereels #sustainability #winetasting #winetrip #visitnapavalley #cheers #vineyardviews #winelovers
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Plan your trip to @cliffamily this August for our ‘Cheers to Climate Smart Wines’ campaign! 

Clif Family Winery & Farm will be creating a beautiful food and wine tasting menu for the month of August with a percentage going straight to support Napa Green! 

Plan your visit to the tasting room, food truck or gorgeous Enoteca Private Tasting Salon in August to enjoy great food & wine while helping to support this important initiative! 

#napavalley #sustainability #napa #cheers #winereels #winetasting #visitnapavalley #winebusiness #wineindustry #winetrip
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We’re thrilled to announce our ‘Cheers to Climate Smart Wines’ campaign starting in August! 

Several of our champion members will be curating special offerings to support Napa Green and highlight the brilliant work being done in Climate Action here in Napa Valley. 

Join us this August and visit @spottswoodewinery & @mkshepp!
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Economics of Organics on June 25th at @grgichhills. Register at the link in our bio. 

🎙️: @soilrainandhope 
🎞️: @mvino1
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Seeking third party auditors! Email for full details!
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Have you been to Napa Green Certified @boeschenvineyards yet?
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Team Green outing today at the stunning @boeschenvineyards as we celebrate big things that we can’t wait to share with you! 🌿
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One of the main resistances to phasing out glyphosate is increased labor and equipment costs. However, the costs of herbicides and fertilizers have risen dramatically, so increased labor demands can be offset by reduced supply chain purchases. 

In addition, leaders like Grgich Hills Estate have shown that regenerative organic farming can be cost-effective. According to an analysis by Brotemarkle Davis & Co. LLP accounting firm, the average annual per acre cost of vineyard management in the Napa Valley is $14,800, with $3,800 in depreciation. At Grgich, they spend $11,000 per acre, with only $1,300 in depreciation due to the longer life of their vineyards. 

Learn from regional leaders about the practical costs, benefits, and ROI of herbicide-free, organic, and regenerative vineyard management.

Confirmed Speakers:
• Ivo Jeramaz, Grgich Hills
• Phil Coturri, Enterprise Vineyard Management & Winery Sixteen 600
• Brad Kurtz, Gloria Ferrer
• Brenae Royal, St. Supery
• Rebekah Wineburg, Quintessa

Register at the link in our bio.
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“Storytelling is key… and sustainability is the most important topic in wine.”

Thank you @elinmccoy for an incredible and insightful conversation with @napagreen members about the stories most likely to capture journalists attention.
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Thank you to all who attended our Future of Water Workshop yesterday at Napa Green Certified @silveroakcellars! 

Stay tuned for more from our luminary speakers @mimicasteel, @todmostero, @petergleick & our own @abrittain.
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Join us for a special roundtable workshop with award-winning journalist Elin McCoy, global wine critic for Bloomberg News and US editor for the podcast The Wine Conversation, with listeners in 95 countries. 

Elin will sit down with a small group of Napa Green members (max 25 guests) and share her insights on the types of stories and pitches most likely to engage the media. In particular, she’ll focus on stories related to sustainable winegrowing, climate action, and social equity. 

Elin will speak and answer questions for about an hour. Then we’ll break into small groups to develop a story pitch, and come back together to present and get Elin’s feedback and input. This is a rare opportunity to get ideas and inspiration from a leading wine journalist. Register at the link in our profile.
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Climate Action & Regenerative Agriculture! Our sixth pillar that encompasses all that we do at Napa Green. 🌼
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