Our wines are sustainably estate grown, and solar produced and bottled.
One of Seavey’s most important goals is to serve as excellent stewards of the land by preserving our open space, and at the same time developing sustainable farming practices, and investing in green technologies such as solar power, composting, and vermiculture.
Open-Space Preservation: About 80 percent of our land is enrolled in a program that protects open space and agricultural land under the California Land Conservation Act of 1965. This program (also known as the Williamson Act) enables local governments to enter into contracts with private landowners for the purpose of restricting the development of specific land parcels.
Solar Energy: In 2003, Seavey installed one of the first winery solar projects in Napa Valley on top of a small barn near the winery and cattle coral. Thirteen years later, in 2016, we completed the installation of a much larger solar array which, together with the old system, will generate enough solar power to support 85 percent of our electrical requirements (farming, winemaking and residential), thus dramatically reducing our carbon footprint and contributing to our sustainability goals. This project eliminates roughly 40 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually by using sunlight to power the cooling system, pumps, machinery, lights and computers of our winery operation as well as our agricultural pumps and residential needs.
Composting Practices: Our winemaking operations generate about 15 tons of pomace (post-fermentation grapes) and 5 tons of grape stems. We compost 100 percent of these materials. The bulk of the grape stems are fed to our cattle and then their manure is combined with the remaining pomace in long composting rows to which we also add oak leaves. This material is left to compost for about 10 months—typically reaching an interior temperature of 145F—and then is spread in the vineyard to provide nutrients to the plants. For an informative presentation about winemaking and composting, listen to Winemaker, Jim Duane’s Inside Winemaking podcast.
Fish Friendly Farming and Napa Green Certified Land: In 2017, we received certification for these two important Napa County programs. Both focus on implementing environmentally friendly land management practices that minimize erosion and soil loss, reduce harmful inputs and runoff, encourage biodiversity, and restoring the health of creeks and the Napa River. For many years now, Seavey has been following two practices that are key to these programs. Mario Gutierrez, our vineyard manager from 1986 until 2011, installed extensive underground drain pipes to carry runoff from the hills. In the fall after harvest, he also spread straw throughout the vineyard in order to reduce erosion during the winter rains („straw mulching“), a practice that we have amplified in recent years, deploying more than 500 bales of straw.
Napa Green Certified Winery: The goal of this program is to reduce the winery’s use of water, energy, thereby reducing waste, pollution and wastewater. We have begun the program’s audit process and expect to receive certification by the end of 2017.
Vermiculture: In 2016, we invested in a new technology that allows us to cultivate red worms in an onsite living habitat housed in a trailer, reusing winery wastewater as food for the worms. The byproducts are worm castings and, yes, even more worms, and we are using the filtered water to make compost tea, a high-quality biologically active liquid soil amendment. These rich byproducts are then applied to our vineyards, and also to our orchards and vegetable gardens in order to improve soil nutrients and soil structure.
Insectary: At the top of Block 13 in the vineyard, we have created an insectary where we are growing particular flowering native plants that will feed and harbor insects beneficial to our grapevines.
By developing virtuous circles of connection between our farming and winemaking, these activities go a long way towards promoting farming operations that are regenerative and sustainable, and winemaking operations that rely on renewable energy and minimize resource use and reduce waste.
The end result? Wine that is produced with a great deal of consideration to using both the land and other resources efficiently and sustainably, and land that is stewarded so that we can preserve its gifts for generations to come.
“Our parents were passionate about preserving open space and farming the land in a way that protects this precious ecosystem. Today, 80 percent of our land is in a conservation easement and we’re using solar energy, composting, vermiculture, an insectary, and our own livestock to create sustainability.”
—Art Seavey, Managing Director