St. Supéry Estate Vineyards and Winery is one of the original members of both the Napa Green Certified Land and Winery programs, achieving Napa Green Land Certification in 2008 and Napa Green Winery designation in 2012. The championship of the program comes from the top. St. Supéry CEO Emma Swain has made sustainability a central focus of the entire operation, taking a soil-to-bottle approach to environmental stewardship and winemaking and integrating holistic management practices at every step of the process.
Swain believes in “walking the talk” to show the winery’s commitment to becoming and staying environmen- tally friendly. She said, “The best part of earning accreditation is the requirement for participants to recertify every five years in the vineyard and every three in the winery. This deep commitment requires continual improvements for renewal, making it a path, not a destination.” She is thankful to have had a solid foundation for sustainable farming practices from the beginning. St. Supéry’s two 100% estate grown, sustainably farmed vineyard sites, Rutherford and Dollarhide Estate Vineyards, encompass 1,595+ acres of land, 2/3 of which are left untouched, encouraging biodiversity.
The vineyards are planted to cover crops that provide essential nutrients to the soil and harbor beneficial insects which prey unwanted pests. More than 100 bird boxes have been installed in both vineyards to encourage the habitation of predatory birds to protect the vines. Between 1,400 and 1,900 sheep have been used to graze between the vines in the dormant season, saving fuel and adding additional organic matter.
When St. Supéry received their Napa Green Winery certification in 2012, they had implemented a wide array of sustainability practices, such as creating compost from pomace leftover from crush and using it as fertilizer and soil enhancer. They invested in new technologies such as high-pressure flow washers and solar panels to help reduce water and electricity usage. Since 2015, St. Supéry achieved a 55 percent decrease in production water use over 2015 and their rooftop solar array offsets roughly 80% of their energy bill. Plans are underway to hit 100% with the addition of another array currently under construction.
Swain said one of their key discoveries on the path to improvement is that day-to- day awareness and staff empowerment are critical. “Once we started going through the process, we realized we weren’t doing everything we should have been. Employees weren’t trained on how to recycle properly. We weren’t even using the right types of lightbulbs. Today we recycle all winemaking, bottling, and winery materials and purchase recycled materials such as glass and paper products, including net zero carbon footprint corks for select wines.”
Engaging staff and sharing ongoing accomplishments has paid off. St. Supéry has shown the rewards available to all participants by using focused metrics and getting the entire team on board to achieve shared goals. In 2018, the winery received the California Green Medal Award and in 2019 was recognized by the Great Wine Capitals as a Global Winner for its Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices.
Swain said, “Becoming Napa Green certified takes time and patience, but through our commitment to sustainable winery and farming operations, we are protecting our land and environment for future generations.”
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8440 St. Helena Highway Rutherford, CA 94573
Article By: Laura Larson