As part of the California Wines: Down to Earth Month celebration of sustainable winegrowing, Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery will receive the 2017 Green Medal Environment Award at the third annual Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards.
Presented to four wineries each year in the categories of Environment, Leader, Community and Business, the Green Medal Awards recognize the leadership of California wineries and vineyards committed to sustainability. The awards, which are presented by a who’s who of leading industry organizations, including the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, California Association of Winegrape Growers, Wine Institute, Napa Valley Vintners and Sonoma County Winegrowers, will be presented at a luncheon featuring CalEPA Undersecretary of Environmental Protection Gordon Burns as the keynote speaker. When announcing the award, the judges singled out Spottswoode for exemplifying “the idea that going green leads to superior quality.”
Spottswoode, which was founded by the Novak family in 1972, has long been recognized as a pioneer and environmental leader in the California wine industry. In 1985, decades before words like sustainable and green became commonplace in the wine industry, Spottswoode’s owner, the late Mary Novak, and her renowned founding winemaker, Tony Soter, transitioned the historic Spottswoode Estate Vineyard to organic farming, and in 1992, Spottswoode became only the second estate vineyard in Napa Valley to earn CCOF organic certification. More than just establishing Spottswoode as one of Napa Valley’s most environmentally conscious wineries, this decision had an industry-wide impact. Because Spottswoode’s Cabernet Sauvignons are recognized as among the finest in the world, with numerous wine writers comparing Spottswoode to the great First Growths of Bordeaux, this decision helped to shape the thinking of generations of California vintners—proving that being green is in no way incompatible with making great wine.
Farming organically is just one aspect of Spottswoode’s commitment to the environment—a commitment that has been continued, and greatly expanded, by the second generation. Spottswoode president, Beth Novak Milliken, started working alongside Mary in 1987. Beth spearheaded additional environmental initiatives that include a solar program that offsets almost all of the winery’s energy needs, the restoration of the Spring Creek Vineyard and the adoption of biodynamic farming practices. In 2007, Spottswoode’s belief in ethical and environmental causes also led the winery to join 1% for the Planet. As a member of 1% for the Planet, Spottswoode contributes 1% of its annual gross revenue to organizations that share its environmental values, including significant contributions to The Land Trust of Napa County, Community Alliance of Family Farmers, Napa Vine Trail, The Trust for Public Land and Edible Schoolyard. In addition to holding CCOF organic certification since 1992, Spottswoode is also Napa Green and Fish Friendly Farming certified, and in 2016 it was honored with the “Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices Award of Excellence” by The Great Wine Capitals.
“We are deeply honored to receive this award,” says President Beth Novak Milliken. “It is both a wonderful testament to the decision my mother made to farm organically more than three decades ago, and to the values that have always defined our winery.”
In addition to honoring Spottswoode with the 2017 Green Medal Environment Award on April 19th, the Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards will also be presenting Francis Ford Coppola Winery with the Green Medal Leader Award, St. Francis Winery & Vineyards with the Green Medal Community Award, and Monterey Pacific, Inc. with the Green Medal Business Award.