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:

1

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.

2

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.

3

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.

4

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.

5

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.

Hear from Winery Program Manager @love.dream.breathe about Energy Efficiency & Savings, one of our pillars of sustainable winegrowing leadership
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We want to sincerely thank everyone who donated either space, time or proceeds of bottles/food sold to Napa Green during Earth Month! We are a small non-profit that greatly relies on donations of these kinds and we’re so grateful for our supportive community. 

Let’s hear it for: 

📍@trefethenfamily 
📍@pineridgewine 
📍@cliffamily 
📍@neotempowines
📖 @karenmacneilco
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Social Justice, Equity & Inclusion. Perhaps our most important pillar of our six pillars of sustainability leadership. 

Thank you for the beautiful description @growresiliently!
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Register now at the link in our profile! 💦

May 23, 2024
Silver Oak Winery, Oakville
9:00 am - 12:15 pm

One of the most critical agricultural concerns with our changing climate, and more frequent & intense weather extremes, is precipitation and water availability. The good news is opportunities abound to optimize irrigation efficiency, and implement regenerative practices that improve soil health, water infiltration, and retention. 

Join us for The Future of Water, with highlights including a keynote from Peter Gleick, one of the world’s leading water experts, and Mimi Casteel, not only a viticulturist and winemaker, but also a forest ecologist with a vision for water resiliency.
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Join us for The Future of Water Workshop, to explore our water future, with highlights including a keynote from Peter Gleick, one of the world’s leading water experts (all guests will receive a copy of Peter’s most recent book, The Three Ages of Water) and Mimi Casteel, not only a viticulturist and winemaker, but also a forest ecologist with a vision for water resiliency.

Wine grape quality is closely tied to the right amount of water, at the right time. One of the most critical agricultural concerns with our changing climate, and more frequent & intense weather extremes, is precipitation and water availability. We’ve swung from historic drought to atmospheric rivers. Our community has huge swaths of unmanaged, unhealthy forests full of non-natives and overrun by firs, amplifying fire risk and undermining one of the most critical systems for groundwater recharge.

The good news is opportunities abound to optimize irrigation efficiency, and implement regenerative practices that improve soil health, water infiltration, and retention. A watershed coalition has also formed in Napa County to pilot and model creek & forest restoration for localized water resiliency and climate cooling. 

Come learn more on Thursday, May 23rd at 9:00am at @silveroakcellars.
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Sustainably sourced ingredients with Chef Sarah Heller 🌱 Purchase your tax deductible ticket to our Opus One x Napa Green dinner at the link in our profile!
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You’re invited.. 

Full details may be found at the link in our profile. Cheers!
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As we wrap up an amazing Earth Month, we want to thank you all for the support & for coming to see us at our events! 

Let’s keep the momentum going and remember that Earth Day is Every Day! 🌎
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Hear from @marisataylorwines about the importance of  water efficiency & savings and what we can all do to conserve this precious resource.
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Join us for a not to be missed dinner experience at @opusonewinery while supporting philanthropic efforts on behalf of climate action. 

An intimate group of 20 guests will be in attendance on the rotunda overlooking the estate vineyards. Chef Sarah Heller will prepare a four-course, locally-sourced dinner paired with Champagne Barons de Rothschild, Opalie de Château Coutet, and three vintages of Opus One wines. 

You will have the chance to share transformative conversations and form deep connections with industry leaders and change makers. 

Please find full invitation details at the link in our profile.
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Happy Earth Day Napa Valley! It’s an incredible joy to work with you all and see the forward progress being made all over this gorgeous place we call home. Thank you for caring, thank you for stepping up and thank you for making a difference!! 🌎💚
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Thanks to everyone who came out to @earthdaynapa and visited us at the @napagreen wine booth! 

 Cheers to @amici_cellars @cakebreadcellars @domainecarneros @handwrittenwines @robertmondavi and @whiterockvineyards for donating the certified sustainable wines to raise money for the Environmental Education Coalition of Napa County and helping make it a great event!
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We’re pouring some stellar Napa Green wines tomorrow at @earthdaynapa to include: 

@cakebreadcellars, @domainecarneros, @whiterockvineyards, @handwrittenwines, @amici_cellars & @robertmondavi!

Come by the booth! 🍷🌎
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What you can do in the vineyard & what you can do at home! 🌼🦋

#happyearthday #earthmonth #sustainability #biodiversity #pollinators #herbicidefree #napa #napavalley #cheers
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Come on by to @cliffamily! 💚🍴
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Come get involved this Earth Month! 🌎🌱

🌷 Earth Day Napa - Saturday, April 20th 11am -4pm at Oxbow Commons

🌷All Things Bottle Sustainability Workshop - Friday, April 26th at @pineridgewine from 9am -12:30pm. Registration is $20

🌷 All Things Bottle Sustainability Dinner! Friday, April 26th at @neotempowines with Karen MacNeil & Chef Dave Cruz! 

Message us directly or head to the link in our bio for info!
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