If not here, where?
Tod Mostero, director of viticulture and winemaking at Dominus Estate, led a Dry Farming Mentorship workshop at the first Napa THRIVES conference in June. Submitted photo
If not here, where?
Napa County can and should be the wine industry leader in sustainability and climate action. Our region and wines capture global attention; this means we can be an outsize force for change.
This is why I, along with Martin Reyes, MW, originated, organized and presented Napa THRIVES, a dynamic six-session event, held in June, that was designed to spur critical regional climate action within the wine industry. The efforts of the organizers were aided by co-sponsors, community supporters and an energetic planning committee.
The Napa THRIVES programs were organized around Napa Green’s “Six Pillars of Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership.” These include energy efficiency, waste prevention, water efficiency, social equity, integrated pest management and climate action. The Six Pillars serve as the foundation for Napa Green’s vineyard and winery certification standards. (https://napagreen.org/)
Nearly 600 guests and dozens of renowned speakers gathered together at the Charles Krug Winery Carriage House in St. Helena where community-building around the concept of sustainability became a reality. The THRIVES experience deepened existing relationships, ignited new conversations, forged a shared sense of purpose, and led several industry leaders to commit to purposeful action in the near and long term.
Examples of these commitments included the following:
— Chimney Rock Winery will explore installing electric vehicle chargers and the possibility of using lighter-weight glass bottles for their wines.
— Crocker & Starr is in the process of obtaining Napa Green Vineyard certification, including taking action to maximize irrigation efficiency, and is also divesting from lenders and investors that support fossil fuels.
— Tonnellerie Berger will seek greener packaging for international barrel shipments, and will facilitate a community initiative for local recycling and reuse of barrel packaging.
— Massican Wines will explore B Corp certification.
During the opening session Eric Asimov, New York Times wine critic, warned against “Pro-task-ination” – emphasizing how multiple daily tasks must not become an excuse for not taking rapid action to draw down emissions and build resilience. Asimov noted, “Wine has the power to educate and persuade — it’s crucial to use this storytelling power.”
Bill McKibben, internationally renowned climate advocate, founder of 350.org and Third Act, drove home the scale of the climate crisis and the unique opportunity the wine industry has to bravely engage with “HNWIs” — the high-net-worth individuals who visit and enjoy the valley’s exceptional wines.
McKibben observed, “The planet is way outside its comfort zone, and so we also have to be far outside our comfort zone,” by issuing a call to action, including divesting from entities that support fossil fuels.
Birgit Cameron, co-founder of Patagonia Provisions, an offshoot of the Patagonia apparel company, spoke about building a more regenerative agriculture by harnessing nature-based solutions. Cameron called this opportunity a “Delicious Revolution.”
Those who work in any branch of the wine industry and who are looking for a clear path to comprehensive, systematic sustainability and climate action are invited to work with Napa Green toward winery and/or vineyard certification. Resources abound to help business leaders improve the bottom line, develop action plans, and continually improve. Our dedicated Napa Green experts can serve as an extension of your team.
As Martin Reyes observed, “To call Napa Green just a certification program is to call Napa Valley just a place to get a drink.”
Together, we can leverage our powerful leadership platform and serve as a force to transform the industry.
The Napa THRIVES event recordings will be posted on napathrives.org/ by the end of July.
— Learn more at NapaTHRIVES.org and NapaGreen.org
— Enroll to become a Napa Green Certified Vineyard and/or Napa Green Certified Winery.
— Sign up for the Napa Green Newsletter: napagreen.org/newsletter-sign-up/
Napa Climate NOW! is a local non-profit citizens’ group advocating for smart climate solutions based on the latest climate science, part of 350 Bay Area. Like, comment, and share our daily Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts @napaclimatenow or visit napa.350bayarea.org
Anna Brittain has helped lead the growth of the Napa Green program for more than seven years, stepping into the position of executive director of the now independent non-profit in fall 2019.