Holistic Sustainability for Generations to Come
Spring in wine country is always a time of renewal and rebirth. A time to bask in the beauty of bud break and welcome a new vintage to the world. Wine Country is truly in bloom once again and it never felt so reassuring. However, if the trends of the past few years have taught us anything at all, it is that this precious land and the industry that sustains it cannot be taken for granted.
At V. Sattui Winery, we are dedicated to doing our best to ensure the prosperity and sustainability of the Napa Valley for generations to come. From the soil to vine and every hand that plays a part in crafting our wines to the guests and tourists that keep our community vibrant and thriving – each plays an integral part in ensuring the wine industry remains viable for the future. For this reason, we take a holistic approach to sustainability.
V. Sattui Winery President Tom Davies is a true champion for the philosophy of holistic sustainability; constantly seeking new ways to improve the well-being of our employees, partners, vineyards, and surrounding environment.
“Sustainability goes far beyond the land. It is our livelihoods. It is about caring for employees, vendors — everyone tied to the company. Our approach in ensuring the health and vitality of the wine industry takes all of this into account. We care for the land and we care for the community.” – V. Sattui President Tom Davies.
As a board member for both Visit Napa Valley and Napa Valley Grape Growers Association, a steering committee member for Coalition Napa Valley and even a member of the Wildfire Task Force, Tom works closely with all branches of V. Sattui Winery – from our vineyard managers and crew to our winemaking and sales teams to ensure that we preserve, protect and nurture on all fronts. With a finger on the pulse of social and environmental challenges, including the warming climate here in wine country, we strive to be part of the solution.
Sustainable Farming Practices
Some of our long-running programs include sustainable farming practices at all our estates and vineyard sources ranging from CCFO Certified Organic farming at Vittorio’s Vineyard to Fish Friendly Farming (FFF) Sustainable Certifications. Both the CCFO and FFF certification programs require rigorous qualification processes that can take up to three years – including third-party audits of all inputs and vineyard practices to ensure the use of organic-only additions as applicable (CCFO) and minimal impact to the surrounding environment and wildlife by way of strategic input application (night spraying and erosion control) as well as ongoing monitoring and recertification. Additionally, we have a robust recycling program that includes but is not limited to composting our own grape pumice and reintroducing it to our vineyards after a year, ensuring even the skins and seeds of our grapes nurture our land rather than go to waste.
To address the longer, hotter growing conditions experienced in recent years, we have tested and implemented modified (V-shaped) vertical shoot trellising at several locations to manage our vineyard canopy allowing ample airflow and preventing mildew naturally while ensuring both adequate sun for ripening as well as sufficient shade to protect our fruit from sunburn. Blocks at Vittorio’s Vineyard, Mt. Veeder and Hibbard Ranch have been converted so far with more to come.
In addition, water resources are being carefully monitored. With 2021 marking the earliest need to irrigate according to the Napa Valley Grape Growers Association, we are exploring avenues to reduce our water consumption in the future including additional dry farming and even removing cover crop early to ensure our vines can utilize every available drop of H2O.
Again, we believe our responsibility extends beyond owl boxes, organic inputs, and water management. Holistic sustainability includes a commitment to supporting our employees and surrounding community to ensure the wine industry thrives for years to come.
An initiative we are deeply committed to is our employee housing program. At present, we have three vineyard workers and their families housed between Carsi Vineyard and Hibbard Ranch as well as H-2A housing for seasonal farmworkers at our Solano property – currently housing 8-10 migrant farmworkers with H-2A Visas. Safe, ample housing for both full-time and temporary migrant farmworkers is vital to our business and we hope to expand upon this program and offer more housing in the coming years.
Napa Valley Forward
Following through on our commitment to sustainability in our community, we are proud to be a part of the pilot program for Napa Valley Forward. First launched in March of 2020, this progressive initiative seeks to reduce road congestion and CO2 emissions in Napa Valley by offering commuting alternatives for our workforce. 40% of all trips in and out of Napa Valley have been identified as commuters to wineries and wine-related businesses and in partnership with Napa Valley Forward and the other 19 businesses that have signed on for the pilot program running through 2022 – we have already saved more than 136,000 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere by connecting employees with alternative modes of transportation from public transit to carpooling, to biking – even telecommuting! Although the Covid-19 pandemic slowed the rollout of this unique program, as restrictions are lifting, Napa Valley Forward’s mission is moving forward once more and we are excited to see our employees take advantage of this special program which offers incredible benefits — from reward incentives and savings on gas and resources to cleaner air for the community and more room on the road for our tourists whose visitation to our wineries, restaurants, shops, and hotels keep our valley thriving.
Finally, V. Sattui Winery is thrilled to have pledged $50,000 annually to the Napa Valley Vine Trail over the next 10 years to help extend the trail from Yountville to St. Helena. This endeavor has many benefits to both the community and tourism, while also promoting a healthy lifestyle and relieving traffic congestion and pollution. This project is near and dear to our hearts — celebrating the philosophy of holistic sustainability to a T by promoting community health; offering a free, safe, easy access trail system that can be enjoyed by bike or on foot, connecting all of Napa Valley for car-free commuting, lowering our carbon footprint, preserving nature, encouraging eco-tourism – bringing an expected $165+ million annually to Napa Valley’s economy once completed.
At V. Sattui Winery, we are devoted to being responsible stewards of the land, committed to providing resources and opportunities for our employees and dedicated caretakers of our community. With ever-evolving challenges both socially and environmentally – holistic sustainability is the key to preserving the wine industry and Napa Valley for the future – and we are proud to be part of the solution.