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Domaine Carneros Celebrates Earth Day Every Day

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Releases first “Powered by the Sun” Rosé, Experiments with lighter weight glass, New Director of Vineyard Operations focuses on Sustainability

Napa, CA – April 19, 2024 – Adding to its multi-decade legacy of environmental stewardship, Domaine Carneros is pleased to share new initiatives that build upon its commitment to producing outstanding wine while continuously striving for best practices in sustainability. Installation of groundbreaking new microgrid technology in 2023 increased Domaine Carneros’ commitment to renewable energy.  In celebration, the winery is proud to release its first microgrid-powered wine, the 2023 Avant Garde Pinot Noir Rose, “Powered by The Sun.” The wine will go on sale on the winery’s website on April 22nd, Earth Day.

The winery’s commitment to renewable energy began in 2003 when they installed the largest winery solar installation of its time.  Twenty-one years later, the winery has ‘amped up’ its solar commitment by doubling its solar capacity and connecting to a state-of-the-art microgrid battery system which supplies the winery with approximately 75% of its energy needs. CEO Remi Cohen shares, “Microgrid technology is revolutionary in its ability to store the solar energy that the panels collect.   At Domaine Carneros, the battery bank becomes charged over the course of a day and the stored energy is utilized to offset peak energy times and can be used in the evenings and overnight. Additionally, the microgrid ensures an independent power source during natural disasters.” 

In an ongoing effort to safely reduce the weight of their sparkling wine glass while maintaining the structural integrity needed to withstand 70-90 psi pressures, Domaine Carneros has initiated use of a 7% lighter weight bottle while continuing to strive toward future reduction. Seeking a reduction in the impact of shipping those bottles, the winery partners with Wine Direct to ship its wine club shipments, all of which are carbon offset. 

The appointment of Allison Wilson as Director of Vineyard Operations early in 2024 brings a wealth of expertise in sustainable farming to its 400 acres of estate vineyards in the Carneros AVA. She brings with her 15 years of experience in sustainable vineyard operations, much of it centered in the AVA she now tends. 

From inception, the intention at Domaine Carneros has been to create the best wines and most memorable sparkling wine experiences through healthy land, vines, and people. For the 37 years since its founding, Domaine Carneros has held itself to a high standard with respect to sustainable practices to ensure that the winery lives as lightly on the land as possible while producing excellent grapes, and, of course, wine. Domaine Carneros has sought and received certifications from numerous prestigious sustainable organizations including California Certified Sustainable Winegrowers, Napa Green, Bay Area Green, and Fish Friendly Farming.  Annual assessments and audits seek out new areas to improve upon rigorous standards of sustainability not only for the winery, but also for its place in the community and as an employer. 

The winery implements the following measures towards continuous improvement:

Re-use and recycling

  • Through composting, recycling, and reuse, over 90% of solid waste is diverted from landfills.
  • Water used in the production process is treated and  used to irrigate the estate vineyards, saving millions of gallons per year  
  • A decade-long packaging reuse program, whereby 20-25% of cases and inserts are reused for in-house purposes.

Sustainability Practices

  • Solar energy has long been a crucial aspect of Domaine Carneros’ sustainability plan, having installed the largest solar collection system of any winery in the world when it was implemented in 2003. In 2023, Domaine Carneros was among the first wineries in the Napa Valley to install a solar microgrid and battery system, which supplies 75% of the winery’s power, and ultimately allows the winery to be self-sustaining during power outages. 
  • The winery’s use of skylights, building into the earth, and employing night cooling systems to maintain cellar temperatures all contribute to energy conservation as well as robust employee involvement in daily conservation efforts. 
  • The winery practices Integrated Pest Management using natural controls for vineyard pests such as boxes to attract owls which feed on voles and using cover crops that attract beneficial insects to control insect pests.
  • Grape pomace from harvest is used to feed local cattle in a region of California with historic ties to the dairy business.

Commitment to Employees

  • Domaine Carneros holds strong principles of diversity, equity and inclusion, and its staff is reflective of that commitment.
  • Through a practice of open book management, employees are inspired and invited to be an integral part of collective success.
  • The winery fosters and encourages mentorship for its staff and embraces professional development in the broader wine industry in the form of scholarship offerings and a fellowship.                                       

The winery has been awarded several prestigious honors from the state of California and other well-respected organizations. In April 2023, the winery received the RISE Leadership Award for outstanding waste prevention and greening of its supply chain. In 2020, the winery received the Napa Climate NOW! award for being a Climate Champion in the Business Category.  The winery also received the California Green Medal Business Award in 2019 for “demonstrating smart business through efficiencies, cost savings, and innovation from implementing sustainable practices.” Only four wineries are awarded the medal each year, so the honor is quite significant given the number of wineries in the state.

Domaine Carneros has been a Bay Area Green Business since 2014, Fish Friendly Farming certified since 2015, Napa Green Vineyard & Winery since 2014 and is Certified by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance since 2015.  

ABOUT DOMAINE CARNEROS 

Founded in 1987, Domaine Carneros reflects the hallmark of its founder, Champagne Taittinger, in creating a vision of terroir-driven sparkling wine and preserving the quality tenets of the methode traditionelle of sparkling wine production. Located entirely within the Carneros AVA, between Napa and Sonoma counties, the six estate vineyards total approximately 400 acres with 150 acres planted to chardonnay, and 250 acres planted to pinot noir. The winery focuses on making ultra-premium Carneros sparkling wines largely estate grown and limited production pinot noirs.

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