Domaine Carneros Earns Kudos

Eileen Crane, founding winemaker and CEO emeritus of Domaine Carneros. Submitted photo

The Climate Connection: Domaine Carneros Earns Climate Protection Kudos

Since its founding in 1987, Domaine Carneros has made sustainability a priority. Founding winemaker and CEO emeritus Eileen Crane has made sure that the winery lives as lightly on the land as possible while producing top quality grapes and wine. Indeed, she believes that growing grapes and making wine sustainably actually makes better wine. She has led the winery to be on the cutting edge of numerous green, renewable, and climate-sensitive programs.

In recognition of these efforts, Crane and Domaine Carneros have been named as the Napa Climate NOW! 2020 Climate Champion in the Business category.

Design for Environment

The company’s commitment to sustainability started in the beginning with the facility design phase. The production facility was built partly into the hillside to provide natural insulation and designed to make extensive use of skylights for lighting, and night cooling systems to save energy. Plumbing and irrigation were planned to reclaim and reuse two-thirds of the water. The cellar was designed and constructed to take advantage of gravity flow for wine movement.

In 2003, Domaine Carneros installed the largest solar collection system of any winery in the world. Back at a time when solar power was still largely viewed in the business sector as a hippie eccentricity, it captured enough energy to power 230 homes for a year (as measured in 2017).

Crane recalled, “I went to a conference where Paul Dolan (then from Fetzer) touted four solar panels on their office building. That got me thinking, we have so much sunshine here, it seems so logical. I work for a French company, so I went to them with the idea, and they said, ‘We’ve already looked at that and it’s not going to work.’ I said, “Yeah, but you’re in Northern France — we’re in sunny California!’ And they agreed.”

As word spread about Domaine Carneros’ solar installation, Crane received numerous calls from wineries and other businesses looking to go solar. Domaine Carneros became a model, freely offering assistance and practical advice. Work is now underway on a solar microgrid, to be completed in early 2021, which will supply Domaine Carneros with 75% of its energy needs and allow it to be self-sustaining during power outages.

Managing waste

Organic waste, when buried in landfills, is one of the largest sources of climate pollutants, primarily methane and carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. It is also an opportunity lost, since such wastes when properly managed on-site can produce healthy compost that can be recycled back into the soil, closing the loop and helping to sequester carbon.

In response, Domaine Carneros has been a strong advocate for composting. Its composting program, combined with programs for recycling and reuse, together divert more than 90% of its solid waste from landfills. The vineyards are farmed sustainably, with agricultural waste being recycled as mulch or feed for local cattle. Waste corks are repurposed into yoga mats, cork floors and shoe inserts, and proceeds go towards planting more cork trees in sustainably managed forests. Cardboard boxes and inserts are reused for in-house purposes, saving an average of $75,000 per year.

Engaging employees

A crucial component of any effective sustainability policy is involvement and buy-in from all of the employees. At Domaine Carneros, employee hiring is guided by principles of diversity, equity and inclusion, and its staff covers the spectrum in age, race, gender, and orientation.

For many years, Crane has managed the business based on principles of “open-book management,” in which all employees are encouraged and rewarded in having a say in the operations of the company.

“Some of the best green ideas have come from employees,” Crane said. The composting program, converting grape waste to cattle feed and the waste cork and cardboard programs were all suggested and carried out by employees.

Crane retired in late 2020, and Remi Cohen has capably stepped into the role of CEO. A 20-year veteran of the local wine business, with experience at the helm of other Carneros properties, Cohen is keenly focused on furthering the winery’s commitment to sustainability.

Domaine Carneros is certified Sustainable by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, Bay Area Green, Fish Friendly Farming and Napa Green Land & Winery.

Long recognized for its conservation efforts, Domaine Carneros received the 2019 California Green Medal Business Award and the Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Award for “demonstrating smart business through efficiencies, and innovation from implementing sustainable practices.”

“Napa Climate NOW! is pleased to name Domaine Carneros a 2020 Climate Champion,” said Dave Kearney-Brown, chairperson of county-wide climate non-profit. “Its deep commitment to sustainability, and a broad range of initiatives— all of which help lower its carbon footprint — make Domaine Carneros an exemplary business and a climate champion in the region.”

Congratulations and thanks to Eileen Crane and Domaine Carneros for their visionary leadership in the wine industry.

Actions you can take

Donate to Napa Green (https://napagreen.org/donations/)

  • the nonprofit that is developing the next level of Napa Green Vineyard certification focused on climate action, regenerative farming and social justice. Contact Anna Brittain (anna@napagreen.org) to learn how your donation will be put to use.
  • Contact your favorite wineries to ask about their commitment to climate-friendly policies and practices.

 

Making the commitment to third party certification takes time and effort, but it is worth it to demonstrate our commitment to the community and to protect our watershed, our land and the air we breathe.​

Economic benefits & ROI of workshops: In a time of changing consumer trends, we want you think of us as extended members of your team. We are here to help share information of ways to not only increase your sustainability but also share with you how these things bring with them ROI, decrease in cost, consumer approval & many other economic benefits. 

Join us at our All Things Bottle Sustainability Workshop to hear from our panel of experts. Registration is $20 and the link can be found in our profile. Cheers!
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📣 Don’t miss these events! 

April 26th - All Things Bottle Sustainability, Pine Ridge Vineyards, 9:00am.

May 23rd - The Future of Water Workshop, 9:00am. 

On April 26 we have 12+ speakers covering all aspects of climate smart glass and packaging. Digging in on the truly most sustainable recyclable/compostable/reusable options, with some product show and tell. 

On May 23 we have keynotes from two incredible speakers and internationally renowned experts: Peter Gleick, co-founder of the Pacific Institute and author of The Three Ages of Water, and Mimi Casteel, vineyard manager at Hope Well Wine and forest ecologist. 

Register now!
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Join us for a dinner that brilliantly combines luxury and sustainability with Vintner Kia Behnia, acclaimed Chef Dave Cruz and The Wine Bible Author, Karen MacNeil! 

This event will help Napa Green raise much needed funding to keep our non profit thriving. For more info head to the link in our bio or email social@napagreen.org!
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We invite you join us at a very special wine dinner with @karenmacneilco, Chef Dave Cruz and @neotempowines to raise funds for climate action in the wine industry. 

For further details please go to the link in our profile or email social@napagreen.org. 

We hope to see you there. Cheers!
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Happy Earth Month! While our members celebrate the Earth every day of the year, this month is a great time to showcase those sustainability practices and tell consumers what you do to be green! Be sure to tag @napagreen in your posts, join us @earthdaynapa, and reach out for more ways to get involved!
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Meghan brings her passion for wine and sustainability together in her role as @napagreen’s social media manager. She is both a Vintner and Certified Sommelier and helps our members share their sustainability stories, emphasizing how caring for nature and community elevates both quality and guest experience. 

Thanks for your unwavering passion and dedication @mvino1!
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Join the @napagreen team this earth month at events around the valley at @cliffamily @earthdaynapa @silveroakcellars and more.

We look forward to talking (and drinking) sustainability with you!
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Say hi to @marisataylorwines, our Winery & Climate Specialist. Marisa has supported sustainable farming and green practices from vineyard to cellar and across all winemaking operations and continues to leverage her expertise to help wineries become climate action champions. 

Thanks for all you do!
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Last week we had a great climate smart burn and alternatives demonstration @gloriaferrerwinery where attendees learned techniques for a conservation/low-smoke burn with demonstrations from @thecleanburncompany and @napa.char. 

Additionally, speakers from @naparcd and Treasury Wine Estates presented the results from a recent vineyard biochar application research project. 

Learn more on our website.
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Have you met Sierra, our Climate & Soil Specialist? Sierra works tirelessly to advance climate resiliency in the Napa Valley by collaborating with growers to realize their climate action aspirations. 

Say hi to @growresiliently next time you see her in the field. Thanks for all that you do, Sierra!
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On average 40-60% of a vineyard and winery’s carbon footprint is from packaging and distribution alone. Join us to explore climate smart, sustainable glass, closures, the future of reusable glass, alternative packaging. Hear case studies. Learn what is truly recyclable, and new opportunities to recycle film wrap and label backing. Since 2020, climate smart marketed CPG products have doubled in sales to $3.4 billion. Wine bottles and packaging can be leveraged to meet rising consumer demand for climate smart products.

Get tickets to this workshop @pineridgewine to hear from @napagreen @consciouscontainer @revinobottles @keystonecapsules @cork_supply @neotempowines @estal_packaging @uppervalleydisposal @naparecycling and more!
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You may have seen Megan, our Winery Program Manager, out and about sporting her @napagreen shirt and talking about green practices. Utilizing her background in hospitality, sustainability and engineering she is dedicated in guiding businesses toward a more sustainable future. 

Thanks for all you do @love.dream.breathe!
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Join us for All Things Bottle Sustainability on Friday, April 26th. Link in bio to register!
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Cheers to @abrittain! Anna has worked locally, nationally and internationally on environmental management, including leading @napagreen and @naparise to the forefront of the wine industry climate action movement. 

Keep an eye out for her with our unofficial mascot, Lily, sharing our best practices, facilitating action and growing resilience in our industry and community. 

Thank you for all you do!
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