For the inaugural posting on this blog; I would like to concentrate on a product I personally love–Wine! As a graduate student, I get to do a lot of group projects. The most recent one examined the operations of a winery located in Temecula, the wine growing region closest to San Diego. We focused specifically on some of the creative, sustainable things the winery was already doing and made some suggestions for strategic improvements. A good rule of thumb for anyone who is considering adopting a sustainable business practice, is that any investment should be central to that business’ core purpose. In other words, we tried to look for eco-innovations that were not only sustainable, but also improved the wine-making process. In background research, we found that most wineries have great sustainable processes in their viticulture (grape growing), but are deficient in their wine making. The winery we looked at was no exception.
- Biodynamic Pest Control: The winery took advantage of predator prey relationships to foster raptor habitats. The raptors eat the pests and no pesticides are necessary.
- Composting: By-products of wine, stems, leaves, and seeds are all seperated from the juice and are used as a natural fertilizer for the vines. Most winemakers believe that fertilizers and pesticides damage the flavor profile of wine.
- Drip Irrigation: Drip irrigation is a highly efficient way to irrigate. Water drips directly onto the root of the plant; so very little water is wasted through run-off or evaporation. Drip irrigation also aids in bringing forward the fruit flavor of the grape.
- Improve Water Use: Currently 70% of water used in wineries is used to clean barrels and vats. We recommend using a water filtration and reuse system to reduce water use by 70% through water recycling. A great one recently was piloted at Kendall-Jackson Wineries.
- Sustainable Packaging: Currently the winery uses natural corks. However 2% of wine is wasted through moldy corks (amounts to $150,000 annual expense for this winery). Screw on caps are more sustainable because of their recyclability and reduce product spoilage.
- Sustainability Certifications: The winery is currently employing sustainble viticulture practices; it would be low cost to achieve certification and would allow brand differentiation in the highly saturated Temecula region.