At Kenwood Vineyards, we are committed to making the best wines and treating the earth with the utmost respect. By following sustainable growing practices, Kenwood Vineyards can continue the tradition of quality winemaking for generations to come. We adhere to this philosophy and make every effort to reduce waste, recycle and lower energy consumption.
Sustaining the Earth, Maintaining Our Livelihood
At Kenwood Vineyards, we intend to produce high quality wine for many years to come. By employing sustainable agriculture techniques, which promotes agricultural practices that allow the minimal use of pesticides in the vineyard, we can sustain both the livelihood of our vineyards as well as the quality of our wine. Although our vineyards are not organic, where no manmade substances are used in the practice of growing grapes, they all follow sustainable grape growing, which provides much of the benefits of organic farming, with less risk, lower energy usage, and at a lower cost of labor. In our vineyards, we use only what is necessary to encourage the development of a natural vineyard ecosystem with predatory insects to help combat grape pests, which not only helps the environment, but allows us to be economically sustainable as well.
Because we source our grapes from a wide range of vineyards, the farming methods used throughout our properties may vary. For example, at Kenwood Vineyards, about 40% of the grapes we use to make our wine are grown on our estate vineyards, which all use sustainable agriculture techniques and where an absolute minimum of manmade chemicals are used in the vineyards. The rest of the grapes come from trusted growers from all over Sonoma County.
At Kenwood Vineyards, we strive to consistently produce delicious, award-winning wines. Having a diverse source of quality grapes gives us flexibility in doing so, making it even more imperative that sustainable practices are followed. Ultimately, maintaining the integrity of our vineyards, thereby the quality of the wine, is our top priority.
Some of our sustainability standards:
- Kenwood Vineyards has been certified green under the Sonoma County Green Business Program.
- Kenwood Vineyards follows the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices Self-Assessment Workbook of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance in the management of our vineyards and wineries.
Some of the ways we help the environment:
In our vineyards
- Soil analysis is performed twice annually to assess specific fertilization needs and irrigation effects.
- All vineyards are planted with cover crops and/or permanent grasses to control erosion and to enhance organic matter and nutrition.
- To prevent soil erosion, we spread wheat and rice straw with a straw blower designed and built in our vineyard shop.
- All hillside vineyards are designed with an engineered drainage system to collect rainwater to prevent soil erosion.
- Integrated Pest Management (IPM) guidelines are employed for fertilization, chemical use and irrigation. All of our chemical needs are recommended by a PCA (certified Pest Control Advisor) who recommends soft chemicals on an as need basis only.
- Winery pomace and vineyard prunings are composted back into all vineyards and landscaping.
Wildlife and natural habitat
- Nesting boxes made from recycled wood are used to attract owls, which control the rodent population naturally.
- Duck boxes are installed at vineyards with irrigation ponds so as not to detour their natural habitat.
- Open land (not planted as vineyard) is retained in its natural state to maintain biodiversity.
- When deer fencing is needed, only land where vines are located is encompassed. The remainder of the property is left open for animals to move freely.
- On 125 acres of vineyards, all water (irrigation and frost protection) needs are met by using reclaimed processed water.
- Use of subsurface drainage collects rainwater for all irrigation and frost control needs for approximately 120 acres. No well water is used.
In addition, we employ practices in our wineries to lighten our impact on the environment:
- Each year since 2003 our wineries have been recognized by the State of California EPA in the Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP). This program emphasizes waste reduction through reducing use, recycling and energy conservation.
- We have participated in the Sonoma Green Business Program administered by the County of Sonoma Department of Emergency Services which recognizes businesses reducing their ecological footprint.
- All of the lighting in our cellar, barrel, and bottling buildings have converted to high efficiency fluorescent fixtures.
- More than half of our estate tonnage is harvested at night to reduce the amount of energy used for cooling the grape juice.
- Our farm shop recycle program recycles drain oil, filters, cleaning solvent, old wood, steel, plastic and paper.