Wolff Vineyards has been on the forefront of sustainability in the wine and grape business for over 10 years. They truly capture environmental sustainability in every bottle they make. Some of their major initiatives have resulted in significant water and energy savings. This includes dry farming 50 acres of the 125 acre vineyard and installing electronic soil moisture sensors and drip irrigation systems. Additionally, a variable speed drive installed at the main irrigation pump reduced energy usage by 40%, maximizing pumping efficiency, delivering the right amount of water needed at the optimum pressure. In the Wolff Vineyard tasting room, an LED lighting conversion resulted in an 80% energy usage reduction; an air cooling economizer system for the barrel room led to 25% energy savings. Their vineyard demonstrates ways to incorporate environmental stewardship into its landscape and is a role model for other vineyards. A combination of electronic soil moisture sensors, extensive drainage system, and graded slopes in the vineyard capture surface water runoff that is redirected to the lower vineyard. Buffer strips of native grass are planted on topsoil between vine rows to further contain water, prevent erosion, provide carbon sequestration, and later harvested and recycled as compost. Biodiesel is used in the small motorized equipment such as ATVs, mule trucks, and tractors. High efficiency fluorescent lights and LEDs, dimmable fixtures, and motion sensor lighting have been installed in and around the winery, tasting room, and restroom. Wine bottles are made of lightweight glass and corks are made of grounded natural cork, reducing fuel consumption and manufacturing waste, respectively. The tasting room has a temperature-controlled high-efficiency AC system, glazed double-pane windows, and a high-efficiency dishwasher with a storage tank that collects grey water for the next load first cycle rough wash. The outdoor tasting room area includes low impact permeable pavement and the main vineyard roads are made of recycled asphalt from a local city road repaving project. A creek segment that cuts across their property is a part of a long-term State and federal demonstration project to enhance steelhead trout habitat. Integrated pest management (IPM) techniques, such as beneficial insects release and pheromone cards, are applied to reduce pesticide use. The efforts of Wolff Vineyards are numerous and are based on three principles: Environmental Sustainability, Social Equity and Economic Sustainability. Their staff has been trained to explain to customers their various ecological and sustainability initiatives and they proudly publicize their efforts to guests with signs throughout the facility. They host many tours, field trips, and classes at the vineyard including those for local colleges and universities such as Hancock College, Cuesta College, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Topics include environmental science, sustainable winegrape growing, climate adaptation, and water onservation. They participate in a local teacher’s sustainability program called “Science After Dark.” The owner is also an Executive Board member of the Cal Poly Center for Sustainability and is a leader in his community.
San Luis Obispo
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