Captain Vineyards is a winery in Moraga, California that is dedicated to sustainability. Many rave about the winery’s bold reds and beautiful views, but their green operations are also causing a commotion amongst viticulturalists, environmentalists, and wine-lovers alike.
Their consistent efforts to decrease waste have been acknowledged for eight years by the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District. And everything that is uprooted from the land is returned. This means 100% of organic materials – pruning clippings, grape skins, seeds, and stems – are recycled. In fact, Captain Vineyards is proud that they no longer require a green waste container because of this initiative.
Captain Vineyards began dry farming its 3,500 vines in 2007. All water used in the cleaning and wine-making process is recycled. Captain Vineyards Winery is clearly achieving its stated goal “to grow with our grapes and show that everyone’s favorite beverage does not need to cause environmental damage or worsen a drought.” Their water-saving actions have been acknowledged with the Water Smart Audit Award, which they have received from the East Bay Municipal Utility District twice in the past eight years.
In addition to initiatives to minimize waste, Captain Vineyards installed solar panels (that generate more electricity than they consume), upgraded their refrigerator and water heaters with energy efficient versions, and insulated crawl spaces and walls to remove the need for air conditioning. The winery has received numerous awards for their energy conservation efforts, including the Leadership in Sustainability Award from Sustainable Contra Costa in 2010 and the Pollution Prevention Award from the County of Contra Costa.
“We take pride in every step of our production process: energy conservation, dry farming, zero waste, and reduced carbon footprint.” - Captain Vineyards
Captain Vineyards shares their passion for sustainability with the local community. The winery offers classes through Lamorinda’s Department of Parks and Recreation and the 4-H viticulture program, and provides internships for high school and college students, all with a focus on sustainable practices. They are also partnering with Raptors Are The Solution (RATS) and a local youth club to install OWL boxes in their vineyard, providing a sustainable solution for rodent problems.
The business also regularly encourages their clients to make green choices in their own lives, such as by carpooling for a visit. Captain Vineyard’s sustainability efforts serve as a model for other wineries, and inspire viticulturists and visitors alike to consider the environment in their business operations and lifestyles.