In Keenan Winery President Michael Keenan’s words, “We were one of the first wineries to get the sustainable green designation. Quite simply, what it means is we can continue doing what we’re doing right now, indefinitely to the future, and to continue to improve our environment.”
What Does Sustainability Look Like at Keenan Winery?
At Keenan Winery, we advocate for sustainable farming practices. In 2007 our solar power system went on-line and now supplies energy to the winery, administrative offices, and visitor hospitality areas, as well as to the homes located on the property. This environmentally pro-active energy source, combined with the sustainable farming practices of our estate vineyards led to recognition by the Napa Valley Vintners Association of the Keenan estate as a ‘green’ winery, and a leading producer in Spring Mountain vineyard wine.
A result of our farming practices that respect the land and environment is that the grapes are delicious as are the wines we make from them. Regarding the vineyards, we’re seeing new flavors emerge from vines that are now sixteen and seventeen years old. That’s really exciting because we were under the impression of the age of eight, nine, or ten would see all the vineyard really has to show as far as its trade; so, it was fully mature by the time it was ten, at least. And now, we’re seeing new things emerge in 2013, 2014 and ’16, such as new flavor trades and a different response to stressful conditions. So, it’s really exciting to see that depth of maturity. That tells us that we’re really on the right track as far as how we’re treating the vineyard, that we’re certified sustainable; but what that really means is how we’re executing our annual cycle of the vineyard means that we’re actually putting more back into it than we’re taking. And in 2013 in particular, in the Cabernets, there’s a combination of softness, which we really try to have in the wines every year but was a little more pronounced that year, and deliciousness from the depth of the fruit is irresistible; and we think the combo that we made when we finished blending this wine two years ago was too good – we simply won’t be charging enough for it. So, this is a wine that we highly recommend. You could drink this wine right now, or you could put it in your cellar and keep it for another ten or fifteen years; but overall, it’s a wine that we’re all extraordinarily proud of.
Napa Green Recognition
We were happy to be one of the first wineries recognized as green. Napa Green defines itself as, “A comprehensive sustainability certification program for vineyards and wineries in the Napa Valley. Soil-to-bottle stewardship includes protecting and restoring the Napa River watershed; saving energy and water; reducing waste and carbon footprint; and being conscientious employers and good neighbors. Independent, third-party certification of farms and winemaking facilities makes Napa Green one of the most rigorous sustainability accreditations the wine industry offers.”
More Info on the Napa Green Program
To provide a little background on the program, Napa Green says:
Napa Green Certified Land
- Developed in the early 2000s as a collaboration between industry leaders, environmental groups and government agencies
- The first certification was in 2004
- In total, more than 187 Napa Green Land participants are certified, representing 45,000 acres/18,210 hectares of agricultural land. This includes more than 60% of Napa Valley’s vineyard acreage (25,000 acres/10,117 hectares)
- Napa Green Land minimizes erosion and soil loss, reduces harmful inputs and runoff, encourages biodiversity and restores the health of creeks and the Napa River
- Certified properties must meet and exceed environmental regulatory requirements
- Third-party certification is facilitated by auditors from LandSmart or Fish Friendly Farming programs
- Properties are recertified every 3-5 years based on the implementation of a farm conservation plan and demonstrated continual improvement
Napa Green Certified Winery
- Created as a partnership between the Napa Valley Vintners, Napa County and the California Green Business program
- The first certification was in 2008
- As of 2019 there are more than 80 wineries certified and more than 60 more in process
- The program strives to decrease a winery’s environmental footprint by improving efficiency, quantifying and saving water and energy, and reducing waste
- Certified wineries meet and exceed environmental regulatory requirements
- Third-party certification is performed by county auditors for the California Green Business Program
- Wineries are recertified every three years based on tracking water and energy use and waste diversion and demonstrating continual improvement in resource conservation
Economic & Social Sustainability
- The Napa Valley wine industry and related businesses:
- Provide an annual economic impact of more than $9.4 billion in Napa County and more than
$33.5 billion in the U.S.
- Create 44,000 jobs in Napa County and 185,500 nationwide
- Entry-level vineyard workers in Napa County are paid an average $15 an hour, significantly higher than California’s minimum wage