Honig Solar Array

Built in 2006, Honig's first solar array generates 147 kilowatts of power.

Honig Charging Station

Emission-free errands made easy with the winery's electric vehicle and charging station.

MCE Renewable Deep Green

When the winery does draw energy, it receives power from 100% renewable sources through Marin Clean Energy's "Deep Green" program.

Saving Energy With Solar at Honig Vineyard and Winery

Honig Vineyard & Winery has spent the past ten years investing in energy conservation and renewable energy, and it all started with a PG&E energy audit. As a result of the initial audit, which included an assessment of their existing energy use and recommendations for upgrades, Michael Honig and his team changed out all of the old lighting for the highest efficiency lighting with a no-brainer payback period. They then optimized their processing and refrigeration equipment for maximum efficiency, making sure that future energy investments weren’t just subsidizing inefficiencies.
The next step? Evaluating their property for solar. Although the idea of “marginal” farmland in Rutherford is hard to imagine, the family had just that – a small plot of land that wasn’t great for growing grapes, but was perfect for turning sunlight into energy. In 2006, the winery flipped the switch on 819 solar panels, generating 147 kilowatts, covering roughly 1/3 of an acre of land. At the time PG&E covered one-third of the cost, state incentives covered another third and Honig covered a third with a ten year low interest loan.
In the nine years since their initial solar investment, Honig has experienced significant growth, roughly doubling production and building new offices and operating facilities. Looking to expand their installation, the roofs on their new facilities are providing the perfect opportunity. Fortunately, the cost of solar has gone down, while the efficiency of photovoltaic cells has gone up. Starting this month Honig is beginning installation of a new system that will more than double solar energy generation, with 180 kW across six roofs. They expect to have this expanded system paid off in less than six years.
“When it comes to sustainability you can’t be a luddite and invest in one project and say you’re done – it’s all about continual improvement,” said Michael Honig, the winery’s president. “That’s what Napa Green is all about. We could have just said we installed solar and be done, but we’re continuing to invest in new projects.

Wineries are typically family-owned, generational businesses. You're not going to stop using power, and power is only going to get more and more expensive. It makes so much sense to invest in solar. It has a five or six year payoff and then you're saving money.

Generating solar power continues to be just part of the energy equation at Honig Vineyard & Winery. Michael notes that small changes like running pumps at night and putting in light sensors throughout the facility have made a difference in overall energy consumption. “Some of this is basic – once you focus on turning off unneeded lights you realize how often things get left on. Little changes can make a big impact. Every effort counts,” Honig concluded. Like many vintners, Honig made the switch to MCE Clean Energy in early 2015. The default option delivers power to customers largely from renewable sources. Honig went one step further, electing the Deep Green option for their facility, ensuring that any energy they do draw from the power grid is 100% renewable.
Michael Honig believes a sustainable company culture has to start from the top. “Kristin Belair, our winemaker, has always had this mentality of leaving a low footprint. So we make investments and lead by example. We show the employees we don’t just talk about these things,” Honig said. Errands for the business demonstrate this commitment. Honig noticed that employees were running errands in their private vehicles throughout the week. The solution? Purchasing a 100% electric Nissan Leaf and installing an electric vehicle charging station at the winery. The Leaf gets 126 mpg and can go up to 90 miles on one charge – perfect for local use. “The Leaf and the charging station get a ton of use. A grower showed up the other day just to plug in,” Honig said.

Living and working on this property I realize I am the caretaker for this generation. I want to pass it on to the 4th generation, and hope it continues to the 5th and 6th generation. That means both the business and the land need to be healthy and vibrant. We're creating healthier soils, healthier employee and healthier wines.

Little changes add up. To improve energy efficiency at your winery Michael Honig recommends:


Get a free PG&E energy audit. They’ll identify opportunities to improve efficiency, make upgrades and clearly lay out your payback period. They also have rebates and financing options.


Revisit Solar. Even though solar has become standard technology, many of people haven’t jumped in. If you haven’t pursued solar in the past due to costs, it’s time to revisit. Costs have dropped substantially. For many vintners, it makes sense.


Go “Deep Green” with MCE Clean Energy. MCE became active in Napa County in February 2015 and everyone signed up with PG&E in unincorporated Napa County is automatically enrolled in their Light Green 50% renewable energy program. You can sign up to get 100% renewable energy at prices that are very competitive with traditional energy – and often even cheaper.


Think about energy in a broader context. For example, hauling waste uses a lot of energy. Kristin Belair recently requested a waste audit and we’re going to ask our staff if we can reduce our waste by 20% in the next year. It probably won’t require a big plan – we just need to talk to our operations staff and make sure they’re sorting and know what’s recyclable. This won’t just reduce waste, it will also save energy.


Keep Improving. Sustainability is not a one-off investment. There are always new ways, even small ways, you can lead by example and make sustainability a part of your business culture.

Napa Green is about producing wine responsibly and being proud of our respect for the environment and for future generations.

A live check in with @abrittain & @reyeswine.mw!
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🌿 Did you know that less than 3% of philanthropic donations go to environmental work? 

Please consider donating to Napa Green this giving season with one of several ways at any level! 

Head to the link in our bio for details!
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With gratitude and joy, we wish you a beautiful day & start to the holiday season from all of us at Team Green! 

- Ben, Meghan, Anna, Marissa, Sierra & Megan
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‘If not here, where? If not now, when?’ 

“The onus is on us as a world class wine growing region to be leaders in sustainability & climate action.” 

- Executive Director of Napa Green, Anna Brittain
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It’s been a big week at Napa Green and we want to take a moment to raise a glass to salute you all. 

We are overjoyed to see so much support and invigorated interest in our mission towards sustainable practices and regenerative agriculture in the wine industry. 

We have many more details, paired with educational & financial resources that are already up and rolling on our website. We will continue to share them all, one by one and in great detail here on socials as well. 

For now please plan on joining us at our upcoming Town Hall meeting on Dec 7th at @stsupery. You can find more details at napagreen.org. 

Cheers and Happy Friday Napa Valley. We are so proud to be a part of this amazing community!
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⚠️ Important Announcement 

Napa Green becomes the first sustainable wine growing certification to require the phaseout of Round Up. 

Please find the link in our bio for the full press release and full suite of info & grower resources. 

Join us on December 7th for our Napa Green Town Hall at @stsupery.
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Don’t miss the awe-inspiring @nikki_silvestri at @dominusestatewinery on Nov 30th!
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You’re invited to join us for a very special day at @dominusestatewinery on November 30th. 

We’ll be briefly interviewing our speaker @nikki_silvestri right here on Instagram today at 2:00pm PST to hear more about what to expect at this event. See you then.
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Curious to learn more? Join us at @dominusestatewinery on November 30th for a rare event and luncheon. Link in bio for details.
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GREEN is the new black this season!! 

Head to the link in our bio now and get your shirts, help a good cause and be an honorary part of Team Green this season! 💚
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Let’s hear it for our Executive Director of Napa Green, the incomparable Anna Brittain for being named a 2023 Wine Industry Leader by @winebusinessmonthly!! 

In their Sustainability Stewards section (which we love to see) we find Anna named in good company with inspired fellow leaders! 

Head to our stories or the link in our bio for free access to the full November issue. 

Cheers to the great work of our visionary Director Anna Brittain!!
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Drink Green this Halloween! 💚
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Sierra is our Soil & Climate Specialist at Napa Green and her ask this year is that everyone consider donating to our small but mighty Team Green for Giving Season! 

Here is more from @regenwithsierra: 

“🎃 Happy Halloween Eve everyone! Today is my birthday, and I would be beyond thrilled if you would consider a donation to @napagreen to support a nonprofit focused on climate action in the wine industry 🍷🍾

@napagreen has the leading set of standards for sustainable practices, from soil to bottle. I am most proud of the work we do with winegrape growers to adopt regenerative agricultural practices in their vineyards. 

Please consider supporting us in our mission!  Click the link in bio for more! “
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Thank you for having us @visitnapavalley! We had a great time talking to visitors about the many sustainability practices our Napa Green wineries and vineyards employ! 

Stop into the Visit Napa Valley Visitor Center in Napa to learn more!
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